President Carter, on the eve of wide-ranging talks with Chinese Vice Premier Teng Hsaio-ping, yesterday called for "maximum Chinese influence" on North Korea, and promised maximun U.S. influence on South Korea to reduce tensions in that bitterly divided peninsula.
Carter's remarks to a group of editors Friday were released by the White House yesterday as officials made final preparations for Teng's arrival this afternoon at Andrews Air Force Base.
Fast-moving events in Korea and Indochina will be among the major topics of the Carter-Teng talks. The White House discussions with Teng Monday and Tuesday are intended to inaugurate what Carter called "an historic change" in Sino-American relations.
Coming after three decades of conflict and estrangement, including bloody battles between Chinese and American troops in the Korean War and conflict by proxy in the Vietnam war, the first visit to the United States by a senior Peoples' Republic of China official is viewed with enthusiasm and optimism by Washington officials.
The discussions with Teng, who is considered by administration officials to be the most powerful figure in the Chinese leadership, are expected to establish dimensions and ground rules for a new relationship between Washington and Peking on global problems as well as Asian and bilateral questions.
The symbolic and political effects of Teng's journey may diplomatic understandings which may be reached.
Close to 1,100 journalists have been accredited to cover Teng's activities in Washington and on his flying tour to Atlanta, Houston and Seattle, according to State Department officials. They say it is the largest press corps ever assembled for a visit by a foreign leader.
Carter administration officials are hoping that the diminutive, plain-spoken Teng will deflate the growing concern in Congress about the future of Taiwan now that U.S. diplomatic recognition has been withdrawn from that island bastion and transferred to the government of the mainland.
Pro-Taiwan groups, reportedly with some encouragement from Nationalist Chinese authorities, are planning demonstrations against Teng in several cities.
Normalization of China's relations with the United States and Teng's trip to the headquarters of the capitalist world represent the high point of China's sudden "great leap outward." China is seeking assistance in its drive for modernization as well as alliances in its quarrel with the Soviet Union, the rival center of international communism.
U.S. Soviet relations and the almost-completed strategic arms limitation treaty (SALT) are listed high on the agenda of Carter's talks with Teng. The Chinese in the past have denounced the SALT negotiations and other aspects of Soviet-American cooperation. Teng's public and private posture could be of major importance as the Carter administration prepares to send a new SALT pact to an uncertain fate in the U.S. Senate.
Carter reiterated in his newly released interview with editors that the United States will not sell weapons to either China or the Soviet Union, but will not interfere in the sale of "defensive weapons" to China by U.S. allies in Europe.
The president revealed that Soviet President Leonid I. Brezhnev had contacted him directly about arms sales to China, and that, "My response was basically cast in the posture of reassurance to the Soviets."
In recent months Brezhnev has sent letter about arms sales to China to the leaders of Britain, France, West Germany and Italy, and Soviet officials have warned that moves to build up China's military potential will be considered a grave matter in Moscow.
Carter told the editors that the sale to China of computers and other technologically advanced equipment will be considered item-by-item, with an eye toward military potential. "In general, we will apply the same restraints of that kind of sale" to China and the Soviet Union, he said.
The swiftly developing situations in Korea and Indochina are complicated by Sino-Soviet rivalries, and thus have particularly sensitive international repercussions.
In Korea, the past 10 days have brought a flurry of five major statements by North or South about the possible renewal of their dormant dialogue. The North-South dialogue started shortly after the Nixon admin istration's opening to China in 1971, but bogged down two years later.
U.S. officials say they believe it is no accident that the latest flurry coincides with the developing relationship between North Korea's closest ally, China, and its superpower adversary, the United States. Both Koreas are extremely sensitive to any suggestions that their fate could be decided by big power sponsors negotiating without their participation.
The latest development in the rapid exchange of statements, an announcement yesterday by North Korea's "Democratic Front for the Unification of the Fatherland," did not augur well for a renewal of serious talks.
The statement proposed that working-level representatives of the two sides meet as early as April, but it declared that the North Korean Democratic Front will send invitations directly to "political parties, groups and social circles" as well as government authorities on the two sides.
Such invitations under North Korean sponsorship are unacceptable to South Korea.
In the past, Chinese authorities have refused to discuss Korean matters in frank terms with American officials, but there is hope in Washington that the establishment of diplomatic relations will change this.
Teng told visiting U.S. senators recently that Chinese pressure on North Korea would be counterproductive, apparently because of the possibility that such pressure could drive Pyongyang to the Soviets for support.
It is doubtful, in view of the ticklish relations with Pyongyang, that Teng will welcome Carter's public statement to editors that an obvious agenda item in the White House talks would be "to see maximum Chinese influence be exerted on North Korea." Carter added that the United States will exert "maximum response" on Wouth Korea to bring leaders of those two regimes together.
Peoples Daily, the organ of the Chinese Communist Party, yesterday called the flurry of statements by North and South Korea "an encouraging new development." The paper charged that South Korean authorities and the United States are responsible for the continued division of Korea. It called on the United States to withdraw all its land, naval. air forces and nuclear weapons from South Korea and "let the Korean people settle the question of the country's reunification by themselves."
In Indochina, Peking is embarrassed by and apprehensive about the Vietnamese conquest of most of Cambodia. Vietnam has been increasingly allied to the Soviet Union, while the Cambodian regim of Pol Pot was an ally of China.
Administration officials have said in the past several days that there is a continuing "significant" increase of Chinese troops and material near the Wino-Vietnamese border. The troop movements were first noted around the time Vietnamese-backed forces captured Phnom Penh.
The Carter administration is prepared to counsel Teng against any Chinese military action that could bring on a wider war involving the major powers. Administration cials will argue that Vietnam has lost some of its international standing and may lose some foreign assistance because of its Cambodian venture, and that it has become bogged down in a guerrilla war it will regret.
Garter is expected to discuss with Teng such other foreign policy questions as U.S. Japan relations, Southeast Asia, NATO policy, Africa and the Middle East.
Major emphasis is being given to bilateral subjects. Carter listed these to the editors as the enhancement of political discussions between the two countries as well as "cultural exchange, student exchange, trade, technology, science and agriculture."
A Sino-American agreement governing science and technology exchange is scheduled to be signed Wednesday afternoon in the White House East Room. Cultural and consular agreement may also be signed at that time if negotiations proceed rapidly.
Teng is expected to extend to Carter an official invitation to pay a visit to China, and administration officials are taking it for granted that Carter will accept. The timing of a Carter trip to Peking is unknown, but some officials believe it is not likely to take place before this fall at the earliest.