A fresh start for Sino-Soviet ties?

A note of spontaneity, a human touch, intruded on the meticulously scripted Soviet political process Sept. 26 when President Leonid Brezhnev made a false start in a nationally televised speech, Monitor correspondent Ned Temko reports.

Handed a corrected text under the umbrella of orchestrated applause from his audience, Mr. Brezhnev quipped: ''It wasn't my fault, comrades.'' The remark was greeted with good-natured laughter and a warm ovation from the crowd.

''I have to start over,'' Mr. Brezhnev added, and did just that.

In the body of the speech, delivered in the Asian city of Baku, Mr. Brezhnev repeated Moscow's desire for ''a normalization'' with China. He envisaged ''a gradual improvement of relations . . . on a basis I would describe as that of common sense, mutual respect, and mutual advantage.''

Since the recent Chinese Communist Party congress, Moscow has adopted a generally more delicate public approach toward Peking, although continuing some criticism of Chinese policy in Chinese-language radio broadcasts.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.