No peace talks with Peking. Better relations with Washington. That is the word from Taiwan as President Reagan tries to work out an Asian policy that keeps good relations with the People's Republic of China without hurting ties with "old friends" -- among whom he counts the Republic of China on Taiwan.
"No talk with the Chinese communist regime is the basic position of my government," said Premier Sun Yun-hsuan in a recent interview. "This policy will never be changed."
Mr. Sun described recent conciliatory moves by Peking as a political ploy "to soften our anticommunist will."
As for relations with Washington, "President Reagan is a political leader of ideals and principle," Mr. Sun said. "He has said once and again that United States relations with the Republic of China would not be affected by the Chinese communist regime. . . . We believe that if the US government can handle relations with our country in accordance with the principles announced by President Reagan in the past, we can reestablish mutual trust and further our relationship for mutual benefit."
Without saying exactly how they expect Mr. Reagan to reestablish the "mutual trust" damaged by his predecessor's decision to derecognize Taiwan and establish full diplomatic relations with Peking, government sources here say they would welcome a greater degree of "officiality" in US- Taiwan relations.
On the substantive side, they want an early decision on sales of military equipment to Taiwan and especially of fighter planes -- sales that they note are specifically authorized by Congress under the Taiwan Relations Act.
Peking objects strongly to both points and Vice-chairman Deng Xiaoping has warned that the Reagan administration would be mistaken if it expected that China would overlook American gestures toward Taiwan in the interest of the common threat that Peking and Washington perceive from the Soviet Union.
Since Moscow is Peking's enemy, is it conceivable that some day Taiwan might try to use the "Soviet card" in its contest with the communist mainland?
Premier Sun forcefully denied this possibility. "As both Russia and the Chinese communist regime are enemies of democratic countries," he said, "either association with the Chinese communist regime against Russia or alignment with Russia against the Chinese communist regime is very dangerous. We will never harbor the illusion of using Russia to counterbalance the Chinese communist regime or naively embrace the idea that 'the enemy of an enemy is a friend.'"
On domestic issues, Mr. Sun said that the main reasons for Taiwan's remarkable economic growth during the past two decades were: implementation of Sun Yat-sen's principle of "the people's livelihood," social stability, educational prosperity, and the "diligence and frugality of our people."
("The people's livelihood" is one of the three principles enunciated by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Republic of China. The other two principles are nationalism and democracy.)
"The government adheres to the spirit of free enterprise," Mr. Sun continued. "It helps, guides but never interferes in civilian economic activities. Willingness and market development are guided by profits and regulated by the function of price."
Mr. Sun, minister of economic affairs from 1969 to 1978, is one of the principal architects of Taiwan's economic success story, a chronicle of sound planning, all-round education, modernization and commercialization of agriculture, and consistent encouragement of the entrepreneurial spirit in industry. Once primarily an agricultural island, today Taiwan depends on industry for more than 50 percent of its gross national product and 90 percent of exports, which reached $16.1 billion in 1979 and continue to expand.
Mr. Sun received this correspondent at the Executive Yuan (cabinet) in busy downtown Taipei. Quiet and modest in manner, he speaks with easy informality. The premier is an engineer by background, having been born in Shantung, north China, and graduated from the Harbin Polytechnic Institute in what was then Japanese-occupied Manchuria. During the war, he spent three years in the United States, including a period at the Tennessee Valley Authority. He came to government office through a career at Taiwan Power Company, the government-owned electric utility. He also spent three years as chief executive officer and general manager of the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria, a position that the World Bank asked him to take.