The Border Negotiations and the Future of Sino-Soviet-American Relations

by Thomas W. Robinson

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Soviet and Chinese strategies during the period of border incidents in 1969, and in the era of border negotiations that followed, are described and analyzed as a preliminary to a discussion of alternatives open to both states given failure or incomplete success of the talks. Three nonsuccessful negotiations outcomes are considered and linked to three Chinese and four Soviet options, in terms both of probabilities of outcomes and strategies for minimizing dangers and maximizing opportunities of each. Next, longer-term (i.e., beyond six months after a given negotiations outcome) implications of each outcome are taken up, followed by their implications for American global and Far Eastern policy. In particular, the "stalemate" option, Sino-Soviet war, and negotiated settlement with rapprochement are discussed. Finally, details of some policy implications for the United States are considered.

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