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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.

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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.

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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