BEIJING SEES ZHAO VISIT IMPROVING PROSPECTS FOR CLOSER TIES

Created: 1/18/1984

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Beijing has portrayed Premier Zhao Zlyang's visit to the United Slates optimistically as an important symbolic contribution to improving Stno-American relations. Beijing's treatment of the visit nevertheless repealedly underscored persisting Chinese wariness over Administration attitudes on the Taiwan Question, stressing again and again the necessity for consistent US. adherence in concrete practice to standing principles and commitments in that regard. Throughout the visit Zhao pointed to the potential for Sino-American economic and technical cooperation, explicitly tying progress to the stability of bilateral relations politically, and he consistently played down any prospects for collaboration in the strategic arena.

Soviet media coverage of Zhao's trip suggests that Moscow found little in the visit to fuel any concerns it might have had about increasedcooperation directed against Soviet interests.

Beijing Sees Zhao Visit Improving Prospects for Closer Ties

6 January visit to the United States is the highest ranking visithinese oiTicial since normalizationnd is overshadowed in importance perhaps only by Deng Xiaoping's landmark VS. tour in Januaryyear. Zhao's visit2 January stay in Washington, followedour of San Francisco and New York. In Washington, Zhao was welcomedanquet hosted by President Reagan onh, and held talks with the President and Secretary of State Shultt on the same day. Onh Zhao met with Secretaries Baldrige and Weinberger and with Presidential Science Adviserof whom visited Beijing inhe signed accords on scientific and industrial cooperation on the illth andJ2th. Consistent with rwrrnal practice following major visits abroad by high-level PRCenmin Ribao editorial summarized the results of the visit onh.

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Assessmentat the outset and the end of Zhao's visit, Beijing

Visit'sthe symbolic importance of the trip for im-

provement in Sino-Amcrican relations in light of bilateral difficulties over the Taiwan question in the past.anuarywith the American press before departing Beijing, for example, Zhao underscored the importance of his visit for increasing "mutual understanding" and "stabilizing bilateral relations" io view of the repeated setbacks relations hadrecently over the Pell resolution and stipulationsChina's membership in the Asian Development Bank included in the International Monetary Fund bill.

The Renmin Ribao editorial at the end of Zhao's visit similarly stressed the significance of the visit, noting that it wasajor event in the history of. relations" because it took placeritical juncture in Sino-Americaniven the "widen the relationship since normalization, the editorial observed, the Zhao visit, together with President Reagan's visit to China this April, are "highly essential" lo efforts to "overcoming differences and removing obstacles" in the relationship.

Chinese assessments of the visit in that context have been upbeat and optimistic in tone. Most authoritatively, theanuary Renmin Ribao editorial declared that the visit was "of positive significance andnd succeeded inood foundation for furtheringhe editorial noted in particular that boih sides had "clarified" their respective positions and successfully "deepened mutual understanding" during the visit. Speaking in New York onh. Zhao himself even went slightly further, claiming that his talks with the President and Administration officials "helped to narrow down lhc differences" between the two countries and "enhanced his confidence" over prospects for bilateral relations.

Taiwan Differences While thus underscoring the symbolic value of the visit. Beijing nevertheless repeatedly emphasized with unusual force the importance of Administration attitudes en the Taiwan question for the future of. ties. At the President's welcoming banquet on the evening ofh. for example. Zhao, according to Xinhua, stated explicitly and bluntly that "the Taiwan issue is the major difference" between tbe two countries and "the principal obstacle to growth" in relations. Though that judgment hastaple of Chinese comment on SinoUS. relations in recent years, no high-level Chinese leader previously visiting Washington has stated it publiclyimilar ceremonial occasion. In formal talks with the President on the same day, according to Xinhua, Zhao was even

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explicit, stuinf thai resolution of the Taiwan issue remains "the key" io

'"steady and sustained" development of bilateral lies and pointing ioRelations Act as the fundamental obstacle whose "rernoval"for lasting cooperation between the two sides. During hisvisit in October last year, by contrast. Foreign Minister Wu Xucqianto Sino-US. differences over Taiwan only obliquely atwelcomingout the need to "remove obsiaclcsimilarly. Xinhua only tersely summarized Wu's recitation ofconcerns on Taiwan in his working talks with Secretary Shultzhat Wu had "drawn attention io ihe point" in ihe talks lhat

Adminislraiion attiludes on the question remain "ihe main obstacle"moolh and healthy progress" in bilateral lies.

the Zhao visit Beijing took positive note of ihe President's assurances

of Adminislraiion intentionsphold ihe principles incorporated intojoint communiques on. relations. Theanuary Renmin

editorial noted, for example, thai "President Reagan has reaffiimed his

adherence to the commitments in ihe past. communi-

and this is welcomed bypeaking as he was aboui to depart New

onh. according io Xinhua that day, Zhao himself observed in this

regard thai he found "reason io expect" that both sides will adhere io theagreed on in ihe joint communiques in ihe future.

While thus projecting optimism about ihc prospects for bilateral relationsesuli of the visit. Beijing at ihe same time made clear that it does noi believe thai the visit resolved Sino-American differences, especially over Taiwan. While stressing the positive results of the visit, for example, iheanuary Renmin Ribao editorial pointed out thai ihe Taiwan question neverthelessajor obstacle to thisoting that there remain "some notable figures. political circles" whose views on Taiwan "are noi in keeping with the limes today" the editorial concluded by expressing ihe "hope" that Washington will "show by iis manifest action, thai il will really keep its repealednd so allow relations to enler the "siage of stable2 January Renmin Ribao wrap-up on Zhao's talks with ihe President and Secretary Shultzolo of disappointment in reporting that, while in the talks China had reiterated its call for the United Stales to "take practical actions to gradually eliminate the obstacle" of Taiwan,. side for its pan reiterated its original stand on the Taiwan issue."

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In calling for "concrete steps" by the Administration that lend substance to its expressed views and attitudes toward China, Beijing pointedumber of specific measures during the Zhao visit:

isanuary interview with the American television networks, Zhao"certain measures" that the Administration has taken since the Pell resolution and the IMF bill thai have hadositive effect" on relations; in protesting both Congressional actions late last year Beijing had called on the Administration to take "active" steps to blunt them. In the same interview, according to Xinhua, Zhao pointedly stressed the "great importance" China attaches to "the stance and attitude" of the President in particular and the Administrationhole; observing that though Congress "is not for the moment inclined to repeal the Taiwan Relationse noted that American administrations "arc never powerless in formulating andUS. foreign policy, if American history is any guide."

Both Zhao and the Renmin Ribao editorial capping his visit called on the Administration specifically to take "practical steps" to implement the "commitments" undertaken in the2 joint communique on arms sales to Taiwan, "beginning thishough Beijing in the past has routinely called for the Administration to implement2 communique and formally protested the levels. arms sales to Taipei lastBeijing has not since then advised specifically that it regardsactions this year on that scoreest of its intentions.

. Theanuary Renmin Ribao editorial applauded the Administration's intentions to treat Chinariendly nonalliedut here too called on Washington to "translate such an intention into concrete policies and measures and abolish the discriminatory limitations" governingand technological cooperation with China.

. tour Zhao repeatedly expressed sur-

prise, according to PRC media accounts, at the-of American popular support for smooth.6 January commentary by Xinhua's Washington-based correspondent Peng Di in particular stated that Zhao's "extensive contacts and cordialwith the American people" during his tour were "equally as important" as his official contacts and "exceeded people'snd he observed that "their impact can hardly be estimated atarlier, however, in an uncharacteristically blunt commentary in the current affairs journal Liaowang, Peng had suggested the importance of such sentiments on the eve of

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the visit: ifelations built up under four administrations "suffer setbacks" under President Reagan. Peng had observed, he "may not be able to win at many votes as he expects" in the presidential election this year.

During his visit, Chinese media similarly publicized Zhao's efforts to impress on American business organizations in Washington, San Francisco, and New York the importance of stable political ties between China and the United States for expansion of economic and commercial relations between the two countries. Xinhua on II January, for example, reported Zhao urging thoseational CouncilChina Trade luncheon that day to "use their influence" to ensure that current Sino-American political differences arc resolved and do not disrupt the elaboration of economic ties.

Chinese media similarly depicted Zhao's meeting with representatives of overseas Chinese communities in San Francisco and New York, explaining Beijing's "preference"eaceful resolution of the Taiwan reunification question and laying out many of the assurances and provisions for Taipei that Chinese spokesmen have done previously. The same accounts also cited Zhao reaffirming Beijing's longstanding position that it cannot make commitments to "peaceful reunification" to "any foreign country."

Strategichis visit Zhao repeatedly threw cold water

on prospects for Sino-American strategicIn hisanuary interview with American television networks,to Xinhua, Zhao specifically ruled out the possibilitystrategic partnership" with the United States in view of Beijing's "critical" views. actions in the Third World. Though Zhao at other points in his visitthat Washington and Beijing do share "identical" or similar interests in someheongstanding community of views on Afghanistan and Kampuchea innevertheless went on to stress on those same occasions the significance of. differences in the Third World.

Beijing commentary during the visit instead seemed to stress inversely the strategic importance of stable Sino-American bilateral ties. Theanuary Renmin Ribao editorial suggested typically in that regard, that sound. friendship "goes far beyond ordinary bilateral relations and constitutes an important factor for world peace andIn thishe editorial admonished, "both the interests of the Chinese and American peoples and those of world peace require that. bilateral relations only move forward and neverjg)

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