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Through diplomatic channels and through stern rhetoric unprecedented in recent US-China relations, Peking is pressing Washington to stop selling arms to Taiwan.

The US takes the position that, under the Taiwan Relations Act, it will provide Taiwan with ''defensive'' arms. Peking now seems to be pushing matters to a crisis point by calling for consultations with the Americans on the subject , and by indicating that the matter must be settled within a definite time frame.

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President Reagan's longstanding inclination has been to favor Taiwan. But most experts within the State and Defense Departments, as well the intelligence agencies, have been indicating that Taiwan does not need the advanced airplanes it is requesting -- at least in the foreseeable future.m

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