What Deng Xiaoping recalled during the visit of the Soviet General Secretary to Beijing
Among the good deeds of the newly deceased Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, one must certainly mention the restoration of official relations between the CPSU and the Communist Party of China. Normal ties between the two ruling parties made it possible to build up cooperation between the USSR and the PRC in all areas. Mikhail Gorbachev viewed the end of the Cold War with Beijing as part of the global strategy of “new thinking”. In preparation for this overdue result, several years before his trip to Beijing, he ordered the end of anti-Chinese propaganda.
On Tiananmen Square in 1989 welcomed the Soviet General Secretary. Photo: Yury Tavrovsky
The author of these lines had a chance to put this decision into practice while working in the Department of International Information of the Central Committee of the CPSU. I also participated in the preparation of the visit and in the work of the Soviet delegation on May 15–18, 1989.
The Soviet leader was enthusiastically greeted in Beijing by young people who had already captured Tiananmen Square. There were even slogans in Russian. A reserved position was taken by some of Gorbachev's interlocutors. Thus, during the meeting, Deng Xiaoping recalled “one and a half million square kilometers of Chinese land received by Russia.” At the same time, however, he called for closing this chapter in history and starting it from scratch.
The visit of the head of the CPSU and the USSR opened up wide opportunities for the normalization and positive development of relations. However, the aggravation of internal instability (the events in Tiananmen Square) crossed them out of Beijing's priority list.
The slow agony of perestroika also reduced Soviet interest in ties with the PRC. Only in May 1991 was the “Agreement between the USSR and the PRC on the Soviet-Chinese state border in its eastern part” signed in Moscow. Almost throughout the entire length, the borders east of Mongolia were clarified and marked on maps on the basis of previous documents on the border and taking into account modern international law.
By his activity in the Chinese direction, Mikhail Gorbachev cleared some of the rubble on the way to new relations after the collapse of the USSR and the formation of the Russian Federation. There is also his contribution to the current strategic partnership between Moscow and Beijing. Eternal memory.