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Soviet official back in China for more normalization talks

Soviet Deputy Minister Leonid F. Ilyichev arrived Tuesday for a fifth round of Sino-Soviet normalization talks, telling reporters ''we never lose hope'' that relations between the two neighbors will improve.

After the fourth round in Moscow, in March, the Chinese accused Moscow of avoiding ''serious discussion,'' and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping told a visiting Japanese political delegation last Thursday that he expected no progress from the fifth round, either.

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Despite the lack of progress in the talks, Sino-Soviet trade is expected to total $1.12 billion this year, up from $700 million in 1983. Border trade stations reopened last year as a result of the normalization talks.

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