Rare press conference focuses on US-China ties
Foreign Minister Wu Xueqian called on the United States for ''deeds, not words'' in order to further develop Sino-American relations. In the first Peking press conference given by a Chinese foreign minister in 17 years, the recently appointed Mr. Wu warned that China was ''studying the meaning'' of Washington's announcement that 66 used F-104 planes had been sold to Taiwan.
He also took strong exception to a decision by an Alabama federal judge that China must pay $41.3 million to nine claimants holding railway bearer bonds issued by the long defunct Ching dynasty government in 1911.
While he spoke on many topics, the focus of his 70-minute press conference was on relations between Washington and Peking in the wake of Secretary of State George Shultz's visit to Peking Feb. 2-6.
He repeated the Chinese view that Taiwan remains the chief obstacle to further improvement of Sino-American relations. But he did not repeat a Xinhua report Feb. 6 saying that mutual trust between the US and China is ''out of the question'' unless the Taiwan problem, especially the issue of US arms sales to the island, is removed.
Mr. Wu made it clear that Premier Zhao Ziyang has accepted President Reagan's invitation to visit the US, leaving the specific date to be set through diplomatic channels.
The Alabama court decision is a complicated issue and reflects China's adamant stand that because it is a sovereign state the court has no jurisdiction over it.
Why not send a lawyer to Alabama, a journalist asked Mr. Wu. ''Your suggestion may have been made with good intentions,'' the minister shot back, ''but I would remind you that you are asking us to act within the framework of American law, and American law has no jurisdiction over China.''
In general, however, Mr. Wu's evaluation of the Shultz visit was positive, saying the discussions were ''candid but friendly and calm'' and that they had helped to increase mutual understanding between the leaders of the two countries. The foreign minister made clear, however, that the condition for further development of Sino-American relations was the strict implementation of all provisions of the joint communique on Taiwan of Aug. 17 last year, ''not only in words but in deeds.''
On Sino-Soviet relations, Mr. Wu said the first round of talks last October was conducted in a ''calm atmosphere, with each side reasoning things out,'' though no identical views were reached. He expected the second round, to open in Moscow next March, would be similar, but warned it was not enough ''just to depend on the atmosphere. We need solid, down-to-earth actions in order to get rid of the obstacles in Sino-Soviet relations.''
On Sino-Indian relations, Mr. Wu said patience was needed to settle the border dispute which has been going on for two decades.
Although nothing startlingly new emerged from Mr. Wu's press conference, the very fact that he held it was newsworthy. The meeting in Peking's International Club seemed another indication of the less secretive, more open atmosphere that the Chinese leadership under advisory Chairman Deng Xiaoping is seeking to encourage.