China's new ambassador to the United States, Han Xu, says relations are good between the two countries, but he warned the Reagan administration that continued US arms sales to Taiwan threaten ties to Peking. Mr. Han's arrival in Washington, replacing former Ambassador Zhang Wenjin, comes against the background of mounting friction in the US-China relationship.
The latest irritant was the Reagan administration's decision to call off a visit to Shanghai by three American destroyers last month. China was insisting on US assurances that the destroyers would not carry nuclear arms, but it is against US policy to specify whether the ships are armed with nuclear warheads.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Han said relations between the two countries improved after President Reagan's visit to Peking last year. ``There is no up and down, and in several instances, there are quite positive developments,'' he said.
But he warned: ``If there is any serious thing happening on the Taiwan issue it may cause a setback in our relations. For instance, if the United States is going to sell advanced arms to Taiwan, it would be a clear violation'' of an August 1982 joint communiqu'e calling for a gradual reduction in the quantity of arms and a freeze on the quality.
A State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the US has no plans to sell advanced arms to Taiwan. But the official acknowledged disagreement with Peking over whether the administration can sell new types of equipment to replace outmoded models.
Han said the 1982 communiqu'e calls for an eventual end to all arms sales to Taiwan. But he complained that the United States reduced arms sales by only $20 million this year. Sales for 1985 are projected at $760 million, down from $780 million in 1984.
``A cut of $20 million per year -- by this speed it would take 38 years more,'' he said. ``The speed is too slow. We expected it not to be so slow.''
Han is Peking's third ambassador since full diplomatic relations were established in 1979. He was deputy chief of the China's liaison office in Washington from 1973 to 1979.
China's President, Li Xiannian, is scheduled to visit Washington in July, although the visit has not been officially announced. Han said some agreements might be signed at that time, but he added it appeared doubtful the US-China nuclear-cooperation agreement, initialed during Reagan's visit to Peking last April, would be ready.