Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping, the leading figure in China's new connection with the West, arrived here yesterday for talks with President Carter and a high-visibility tour of the American hinterland.
Teng, considered by U.S. officials to be the most powerful figure in the Peking leadership, stepped from his Chinese Civil Airlines jet at 3:30 p.m. to the applause of dignitaries and diplomats waiting in the windswept tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base.
Vice President Mondale and Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance led the welcoming party, which included members of Congress and U.S. and Chinese diplomats. Teng waved to a crowd of several hundred persons behind barricades, some carrying Chinese and American flags and banners of welcome in Chinese. Speeches and other ceremony were reserved for the official welcome at the White House at 10 a.m. today.
In an addition to his published schedule, Teng left his temporary residence at Blair House last night for an informal roast beef dinner at the Virginia home of presidential adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. Joining Brzezinski, a leading figure in the normalization of Sino-American reltions, were the other members of the small group entrusted by Carter with the secret negotiations. They are Vance, U.S. liaison chief in Peking Leonard Woodcock, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke and National Security Council aid Michel Oksenberg. vbance and Woodcock were accompanied by their wives.
With Teng at the dinner were Vice Premier Fang I, who is in charge of science and technology; Foreign Minister Huang Hua, and Chai Tse-min, chief of the Chinese Liaison Office in Washington, and their wives.
A White House official said Brzezinski had asked Teng to dinner at his house when the two met in Peking last May. The officlas said the dinner was extremely informal, being served by the Brzezinski children: Ian, 15; Mark, 14, and Mika, 11.
Teng, who is 74, did not appear to be weary as he alighted after his 18-hour flight from Peking. Officials said there are sleeping quarters aboard the Chinese-owned Boeing 707, but they did not know if the Chinese leader had slept.
An intensive round of ceremony, official discussion and entertainment awaits Teng today. His schedule calls for a White House arrival ceremony, meetings with Carter in the morning and the afternoon, a luncheon meeting with Vance at the State Department, a White House state dinner and an evening of entertainment as Carter's guest at the Kennedy Center Opera House.
The talks with Carter are expected to cover a broad range of global, Asian and bilateral matters. Administration officials said great importance is attached to the discussions because they may establish the context and tone as well as determine the initial substance of Sino-American cooperation in the era of full diplomatic relations.
Fast-moving events in Korea and Indochina, areas of conflict between China and the United States in decades past, are of special concern and sensitivity. Carter said on the eve of Teng's arrival that he will seek "maximum Chinese influence" on North Korea, which has engaged in a large and steady expansion of its military forces and has recently been exchanging diplomatic statements with South Korea.
U.S. officials have expressed apprehension about China's continuing military buildup noar its border with Vietnam. Informed sources said Vance, Holbrooke and other officials have delivered words of caution to the Chinese, Soviet and Vietnamese governments on repeaned occasionsin recent weeks.
A Chinese strike against Vietnam, in retaliation for Vietnam's seizure of most of Cambodia, would widen the Southeast Asian hostilities and threaten to bring in Soviet forces. Officials said there is nothing to indicate that such an attack on Vietnam is imminent but the large buildup of Chinese troops is a worrisome sign of possible conflict.