Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen met Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the Kremlin on Friday, the second day of Qian's visit to Moscow, Tass news agency said. The brief report gave no details of their talks.

On Thursday, Qian and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze agreed to promote a solution to the Cambodian conflict.Their meeting in Moscow was the first in three decades between the foreign ministers of the world's two most powerful Communist states and the two men said they were opening a new era in Soviet-Chinese relations.

In talks described as frank and constructive, the two men agreed to set up a working group on Cambodia - a sore spot in their relations - so that they could continue discussions on other issues, the Soviet news agency said.

"One can speak of a new quality in bilateral relations, if their current state is compared to the situation a few years ago," Tass quoted Shevardnadze as saying. "Great progress has been made."

Qian agreed the relationship between the world's two most powerful Communist states had undergone a "qualitative change."

He arrived on Thursday for a three-day visit seen as paving the way for a Sino-Soviet summit next year. He is due to meet Kremlin leader Mikhail Gorbachev while in Moscow.

Qian is the first Chinese foreign minister to visit Moscow since 1957. The two countries clashed in the 1960s over ideological and border issues and only recently began steps towards overcoming their differences.

Shevardnadze and Qian had a full exchange of views on Cambodia, one of the main obstacles to improved relations between Moscow and Peking. China and Soviet ally Vietnam support opposing sides in the Cambodian conflict.

Vietnam sent between 100,000 and 120,000 troops to Cambodia in 1978 to oust the Peking-backed Khmer Rouge, who still receive arms and supplies from China in their 10-year guerrilla war.

Qian was expected to push the Soviet Union for a detailed timetable for Vietnam's troop withdrawal from Cambodia.

As Qian and Shevardnadze met, Vietnam announced it would pull 18,000 troops out of Cambodia this month, the last of 50,000 soldiers Hanoi promised to bring home this year.