A senior Chinese official has expressed great dissatisfaction with the Carter administration's failure so far to move toward full diplomatic relations with Peking.
"We have not found any sign . . . of a decision being taken by the United States to resolve the problem," the official said in an interview.
"In other words, there is no sign in sight at this point that the United States has made up its mind to discuss normalizing relations between our two countries."
The sharply worded remarks were apparently the first strong criticism by Peking of the Carter administration's China policy.
Earlier this month, when President Carter's son Chip went to China, U.S. officials said that Washington wanted improved relations with China as a counterbalance to the Soviets, with whom Washington's relations were getting into difficulties. Two weeks ago, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, speaking to the National Council for U.S.-China Trade, expressed the Carter administration's strong backing for normalization of political and economic ties with Peking.
Nonetheless, the Chinese official, who asked not to be identified, said here, while Carter and Vance are talking about normalizing relations, they are talking about how they will not discount their old friends, and of course they are talking about a small handful of people like Chiang Chingkuo." Chiang is premier of the Nationalist Chinese government on Taiwan, whose continued relations with Washington are the main obstacle to normalization.
American talk about sticking with Taiwan "runs counter to the spirit of the Shanghai communique," the official said." The responsibility for the lack of development in Sino-American relations doesn't rest on the Chinese Side," he said. "It rests completely on the Americans.'"
During the Ford administration and the latter part of the Nixon administration, the Chinese openly expressed disappointment at U.S. failure to proceed toward normalization as laid out in the Shanghai communique signed by the two countries in 1972.
After last year's U.S. elections, Peking stopped complaining and Chinese Ambassador Huang Chen publicly expressed confidence that Carter would honor the Shanghai communique. But the sharp statements about U.S. policy from the senior official here indicate that Peking now feels that Carter has had enough time to act and may be giving relations with China too little priority.
The United States, the official said, must make up to the Chinese people for America's having supported the opponents of the Communists, the late Chiang Kai-shek, in the post-World War II Chinese civil war, "a war in which many people died."
He said, "The U.S. occupation of Taiwan has meant the continuation of American aggression and interference in Chinese affairs . . . As long as the problem remains unsolved, the debt owed by the United States to the Chinese people will grow bigger and bigger." It is the U.S. government, not the American people, that is to blame, he added.
"If you want to normalize relations, then you have to sever your relations with Taiwan, withdraw your troops and abrogate the (defense) treaty," he said. Reports that Vance would come to Peking in November to discuss normalization "are just American press speculation, I'm afraid," the Chinese official said.
Asked whether China would rule out use of force in retaking Taiwan, the official said: "You Americans hope that we will liberate Taiwan by peaceful means. And, as far as our desire is concerned, we also want to liberate Taiwan by peaceful means . . . this is because if we liberate Taiwan by force, not only bad people but good people will die. But (the Nationalists) do not agree with this, and thus are prepared for battle."
At another point he said, after noting reports that Taiwan was shopping for weapons, "So this actually comes down to the point that if we want to liberate Taiwan, then we will have to fight a battle."
The official was reminded that one obstacle to severing U.S. relations with Taiwan was the substantial trade American businessmen carry on with the island.
"What we demand is the severance of official relations and semi-official relations between the U.S. government and Taiwan," he replied. "As for business between individuals, it can be taken under consideration after the normalization of relations and we can give favorable consideration to this matter if there is such need."
Another Chinese official earlier referred favorably to the case of Japan, which continues substantial trade with Taiwan although its embassy has moved to Peking.
U.S. State Department officials have disclosed that President Nixon promised the Chinese in 1972 that he would move toward full diplomatic relations during his second term. The Watergate scandal destroyed this time-table, and when Ford became President some American analysts urged quick recognition of Peking.
They predicted that China would move to heal relations with Moscow if there was no U.S. action and the Soviet hating Chinese leader Mao Tsetung died. Since Mao's death Sept. 9, however, the Chinese have remained vehemently hostile to the Soviets, an attitude the Chinese official reinforced in the interview.
The senior official used some of his sharpest language during the 90-minute interview while giving his opinion on U.S. policy against human-rights violations abroad.
"It can be said that the human-rights problem is also a big problem in the United States," he said. "For instance, the black people in the United States are looked down upon by others."