A Chinese parliamentary delegation arrived here today for a 10-day official visit, the first of its kind since the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s.
The nine-member group headed by Zhang Chengxian, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress is here at the invitation of the Supreme Soviet, or parliament, of the Soviet Union.
The visit is another sign of a slight thaw in relations between Peking and Moscow, although in China's view, major obstacles still stand in the way of improved political ties.
Soviet President Konstantin Chernenko, in a speech read in his name on Feb. 22, welcomed "normalizing relations" with Peking, citing "useful steps taken in this respect last year." The visit comes after Soviet First Deputy Premier Ivan Arkhipov visited Peking in December, the highest ranking Soviet official to go to China since 1969.
Political consultations were resumed between the two capitals in 1982, and so far five sessions have been held in Moscow and Peking.
The Soviet news agency Tass today reported that Zhang said on his arrival in Moscow that this was "the first meeting of Chinese and Soviet parliament members after the long years that have passed since the cessation of contacts between us.
"We are convinced that our visit will play a positive role for the deepening of mutual understanding between us," he said.
During his visit to Peking last December, Arkhipov signed agreements with the Chinese on economic, technical and scientific cooperation. A long-term trade pact between the two is expected to increase trade between the countries in 1985 from $1.05 billion to $1.4 billion, and greater growth is likely after this year. Sino-Soviet trade increased fivefold during the past decade.
The Soviet press recently has carried articles critical of China's economic reforms, which one article last November described as "new sources of social tensions."
Peking has insisted on three conditions for an improvement in political relations between the two Communist giants: reduction of Soviet troops along the Chinese border, withdrawal of Soviet support for the Vietnamese in Cambodia and a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.