Chinese Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping told a U.S. congressional delegation emphatically today that China will use peaceful means to bring the island of Taiwan back under mainland control.
Teng's statements, including an invitation to Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) to visit China, were the strongest in a series of recent Chinese efforts to eliminate American fears of an invasion of the anticommunist island republic. Teng seemed to be attempting to help the Carter administration keep congressional critics from hampering its shift of official relations from Taipei to Peking.
One participant in the two-hour meeting at the Great Hall of the Peole said that although Teng did not specifically rule out the use of force against Taiwan, he indicated he did not see any circumstances that would require it.
"Everybody has two hands, the hand of peace and the hand of force, and we are going to use the hand of peace," Rep. Thomas L. Ashley (D-Ohio), the delegation leader, quoted Teng as saying.
Delegation members also said that Teng made a vehement oral attack on Vietnam, which reportedly has gained significant ground in its war against China's close ally, Cambodia.
Yesterday Teng told a Chinese political symposium here that Moscow and Hanoi "are making trouble for us every day, sometimes compelling us to take steps we would not be willing to take." The Chinese leader has given no public hint so far as to what further action China might take against Vietnam, other than to tell the U.S. delegation he thought Washington and Peking "should at the very least register the very sharpest moral disapproval" of recent Soviet and Vietnamese actions, Ashley said.
Teng's statements on Taiwan came after China announced Sunday it was canceling its longtime bombardment of Taiwanese-held ofshore islands. It also appears that Peking has moved troops from the coastal region near Taiwan to beef up forces on the Vietnamese and Soviet borders.
Teng appeared well aware of adverse reaction in the U.S. Congress to President Carter's decision to recognize Peking and pull out of Taiwan, a process which began yesterday. He said he would welcome the leading Senate opponent of normalization with China, Goldwater, if he close to visit Peking.
According to Ashley, Teng said "he would make a point of engaging in a lengthly and leisurely conversation with the senator on this or any other matter."
[In Washington, a spokesman for Goldwater said he had heard nothing about Teng's comments directly from Chinese authorities. "If and when we get an invitation," the spokesman said, "we might consider it."]
Teng is scheduled to visit Washington late his month to meet President Carter.
Ashley said Teng stressed "that the reunification of China and Taiwan would be peaceful and the standard of living of the people of Taiwan would be maintained. He made it clear that China does not plan to pursue a strong-armed policy, although he said that (reunification) remained an internal matter of China."
"I think all of us came away with a much greater confidence that China's policy with regard to reunification would be a long-term, negotiation type of reunification," Ashley said.
Teng noted that Nationalist Chinese officials, who have maintained an anticommunist bastion on Taiwan since losing the mainland to the Communists 29 years ago, have not shown any interest in negotiations so far. Taiwanese President Chiang Ching-kuo has said several times that Communists simply cannot be trusted to keep any promises.
The delegation from the House Baking Committee will have a significant impact on efforts this year to make China eligible for U.S. Export-Import Bank loans and loans from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. China has shown great interest in going to world financial markets for the estimated $6 billion a year in foreign technology it needs to modernize its economy.
Ashley said Teng appeared to have a detailed knowledge of which congressional committees handled which laws dealing with trade with China. "He referred to the problems of making a reality of expanded trade opportunities," Ashley said, adding that Teng said China was most interested in obtaining oil-extraction, electronic and agricultural equipment from the United States.
Teng told the delegation he considered the recent decision to normalize relations at least as important as Peking's recent treaty of peace and friendship with Japan. As the most experienced and influential leader in a country still wrestling with a number of difficult economic and political problems, Teng underlined the importance of U.S ties by devoting two hours to just one small group of U.S. congressmen.
In addition to Ashley, the delegation included: Reps. Douglas Barnard Jr. (D-Ga.), David W. Evans (D-Ind.), Robert Garcia (D-N.Y.), Richard Kelly (R-Fla.), John J. LaFace (D-N.Y.), James A. S. Leach (R-Iowa) and Mary Oakar (D-Ohio).
The group is to leave Peking Wednesday for Shanghai and Canton before returning to Washington.