Vietnam told China yesterday that it could send ships to pick up any Chinese residents of Vietnam who want to leave, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

China has already reported more than 90,000 persons have fled Vietnam, many of them complaining of harassment by Vietnamese. Tens of thousands of others reportedly are ready to leave if boats are allowed to come to get them.

In Peking, meanwhile, Chinese Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping confirmed that China has suspended part of its aid program to Vietnam because of persecution of its Chinese residents, according to Japanese news report.

Teng reportedly told Japanese broadcasting executives that China has provided Hanoi with more than $13.6 billion in aid over the past two years, but he did not say how much was being suspended. There have previous reports of the cutoff, but none of them directly confirmed by the Chinese.

Teng was quoted as saying, "We were tolerant, while the Vietnamese took 10 steps. When they took the 11th step, we took the first retaliatory step. When they take the 12th step, we will take our second step.

Teng also reportedly told the Japanese that the Vietnamese had rejected a Chinese proposal to set up a consulate in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) to help Chinese residents there.