The formidable task of ending 10 years of jungle war in Cambodia moves on to other arenas, including the first Sino-Soviet summit in 30 years, now that peace talks held in this country have broken up without new agreements.
Despite the bare results at Jakarta this week, attempts at rapprochement by the United States, China and the Soviet Union and unprecedented recent dialogue among the warring Cambodian factions have created momentum toward peace.Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach of Vietnam said it was "like the last 15 minutes of a football (soccer) match, with everyone trying to score a point."
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, a leader of guerrillas fighting Vietnam's occupation of Cambodia, said the Jakarta meeting had been destined to fail because settlement lies with two countries that did not attend - the Soviet Union, which arms Vietnam, and China, which arms the guerrillas.
The Cambodian conflict is likely to top the agenda when Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev meets Chinese leaders in Beijing on May 15-18 in the Communist giants first summit in three decades.
The two nations have declared their commitment to settling the major conflict blocking normalization of their relations.
Indeed, officials fear Moscow and Beijing might rush into an agreement that, as in Afghanistan, would wash their own hands but leave basic internal conflicts unresolved and condemn Cambodia to even more chaotic civil war.
Last year, the two powers held their first talks solely on the Cambodia issue. Then in December, China's Foreign Minister Qian Qichen discussed it in Moscow in the first visit by a top Chinese official there in 31 years.
In February, Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze made his country's highest-level visit to China in three decades to set the date for the summit.