Oct. 17-Nov. 30, 1979: Soviets and Chinese, in Moscow, start full-scale talks on normalizing relations. Two sides decide to alternate between Peking and Moscow in future meetings but agree on little else.
Dec. 29, 1979: Soviets invade Afghanistan. On Jan. 19, 1980, China breaks off formal talks with Soviets. Chinese say that Soviets mustwithdraw troops from Afghanistan and from border with China (including three divisions in Mongolia), and end aid for Vietnamese occupation of Kampuchea (Cambodia) before relations can be normalized.
Oct. 5-22, 1982: First round of formal talks. After a year of Soviet overtures, Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Qian Qichen and Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Leonid Ilyichev meet in Peking. China announces resumption of periodic, formal talks. Soviets tone down rhetoric, but Chinese continue to condemn Soviet ''hegemonism.''
On Nov. 15, Chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua attends funeral of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and meets with Yuri Andropov and Andrei Gromyko. Two sides hint they may reduce number of troops on border.
March 1-March 22, 1983: Second round of talks. Qian and Ilyichev, in Moscow, agree to increase cultural, athletic, and educational exchanges but fail to reach agreement on political and strategic issues.
Oct. 6-21, 1983: Third round. In Peking, Qian and Ilyichev agree to double trade during 1984 and to increase cultural, athletic, and educational exchanges, but fail to make any progress on the political front.
A month before, Sept. 8-16, Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Kapitsa meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wu Xueqian in Peking. The day Kapitsa leaves , China delivers its most severe criticism of Soviet downing of the Korean jetliner Sept. 1.
March 11-26, 1984: Fourth round. Qian and Ilyichev, in Moscow, agree to increase trade and cultural contacts. China accuses Soviets of avoiding ''serious discussion.''
The meeting comes after a month of conflicting signals. On Feb. 10, the two countries agree to increase trade by 50 percent in 1984. Foreign Chinese Vice-Premier Wan Li attends Soviet leader Yuri Andropov's funeral Feb. 13. Two days later, he tells Politburo member Geidar Aliyev that China wants better ties.
But on March 3, Mongolia rejects China's demand that Soviets troops be withdrawn, and the New China News Agency criticizes new Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko for rejecting China's preconditions.
April 26-May 1, 1984: Ronald Reagan visits China.
May 9: With 24 hours notice, Soviets postpone visit to Peking of First Deputy Premier Ivan Arkhipov, who would have been the highest-ranking Soviet official to go to China in 15 years. Western diplomats view this as rebuff after Reagan trip and recent China-Vietnam border clashes.
June 31-July 5, 1984: Qian meets with Gromyko in Moscow, but says two countries made no progress on key political issues. On July 9, China's official weekly Peking Review says it is ''unrealistic and impossible'' for the two countries to return to close relationship of the 1950s.
Sept. 21 and 22, 1984: Gromyko and Wu meet at United Nations but again record no breakthrough in normalizing relations.
Oct. 16-Nov. 2, 1984: Fifth round. In Peking, Ilyichev and Qian announce ''some positive moments'' but diplomats see no evidence of progress in normalizing relations.
On Oct. 20, Chinese Central Committee announces plan to restructure economic system. Program restricts Soviet-style central planning, expands authority of enterprises over wages, prices, and products, and relies more on market and competition to guide production and pricing. Urban reform follows by six years a similar agricultural reform. The Chinese have their fourth consecutive bumper harvest and rural incomes double between 1978 and 1983. The Soviets experience their sixth poor harvest in a row.
Dec. 7, 1984: Front-page editorial in China's People's Daily says some of Karl Marx's ideas are ''no longer suited'' to China.
Dec. 21, 1984: Ivan Arkhipov is scheduled to arrive in Peking for official talks.