President Carter is to send a high-level team of U.S. officals, headed by Deputy Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher, to Taiwan next week to discuss a new framework for relations after the United States severs diplomatic ties Jan. 1.
In announcing the trip, the White House said Christopher will be in Taipei from Wednesday to Friday. Accompanying him will be Adm. Maurice Wiesner, commander of U.S. Pacific forces, Herbert Hansell, the State Department legal adviser, and other officials from the departments of State, Defense and Commerce.
Christopher's mission, on the eve of the break in formal relations, will mark the first time in seven years that Taiwan has been visited by U.S. officials of comparable rank. During that time, successive U.S. governments, anxious to cultivate ties with Peking, deliberately have kept diplomatic contacts at a low level.
However, administration sources said, Carter wants to give the Taiwanese government an explanation of Washington's decision to shift its China policy to recognition of Peking as the legitimate government of China.
Jack Cannon, a State Department spokesman, said Christopher also will attempt to reassure the Taiwanese of the administration's desire to continue close commercial, cultural and other ties and to maintain an interest in the peaceful resolution of Taiwan's future. He said the discussions will include continued American arms sales to Taiwan and the disposition of U.S. military equipment currently stockpiled on the island. Although the administration plans to abrogate the U.S.-Taiwan matual defense pact, Carter has said the United States will continue to provide Taiwan with some arms of a defensive nature.
Sen. Bon Dole (R-Kan.), one of the most vociferous critics of the administration's China policy shift, yesterday sent an invitation to Taiwan President Chiang Ching-kuo to visit the United States next week.
Dole, who extended the invitation as cochairman of a private, pro-Taiwanese organization, the Coalition for Peace through Strength, said in his message: 'We urgently need your advice and counsel here."
Cannon said the State Department had no comment on Dole's action, but added that the administration had no objection to a visit by Chiang. If he makes a visit before Jan. 1, Cannon said, Chiang would be received "with the full status" of the head of a country having diplomatic relations with the United States