The Soviet Union today expressed concern here and in Washington over Chinese Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping's "incendiary" attacks on Moscow, requesting an explanation of the joint U.S.-Chinese statement issued on Teng's departure from Washington.
Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin called on Secretary of State Cyrus Vance to raise "some questions" about the use of the world "hegemony" in the statement. "Hegemony" is the Chinese code word for Soviet expansionism and aggression.
White House press spokesman Jody Powell indicated that Vance had tried to reassure Dobrynin that Washington and Peking were not forming an antiSoviet alliance.
The official Soviet news agency Tass earlier today denounced Teng's remarks and called on the Carter administration to clarify its position toward the Soviet Union. Tass asserted that the White House had not separated itself from what the Russians called Teng's "rude attacks against the Soviet Union" during his remarks to congressmen Wednesday.
Dobrynin's appointment with Vance, according to Powell, had been previously scheduled to discuss the current strategic arms limitation negotiations.
"He came by to talk about SALT and while he was there he brought up the [U.S.-Chinese] communique," Powell said. "His primary focus was on the word 'hegemony.'"
Although senior U.S. officials earlier had taken a distance from Teng's anti-Soviet statements, Tass today insisted that Washington's position remains ambiguous.
"Many words were said from the American side" during Teng's visit, the agency noted in a dispatch from Washington. "But these words do not indicate the attitude of the U.S. administration to the incendiary statements by the Chinese guest of the White House, to the slandering of the policy of relaxation of tension, to the condemnation of efforts to restrict the arms race, to calls to creat 'a united front against the Soviet Union.'"
"All this calls for clarification. For in statements by the American side it was said that the talks with Teng revealed the existence of 'many common perspectives,' that the two sides could facilitate the attainment of 'analogous aims' and even that the sides had agreed to 'conduct regular consultations on questions of common stategic interest.'
"The Chinese understanding of perspecitives, aims and strategic interest is known," the Tass report declared. "The Peking leadership orients itself at war, hegemonism, at the suppression of national liberation movements and at struggle against socialist countries."
The Soviets until tonight had refrained from significant comment on the visit of Teng to the United States. But the official press and Soviet sources have made clear in the weeks since full Chinese-American diplomatic relations were announced in December the Kremlin's alarm over possible future actions by Peking and Washington against Moscow.
During his Washington stay, Teng mounted blunt attacks against Moscow, Peking's bitter ideological enemy and powerful neighbor, and called on the United States, Europe and Japan to join forces against the Russian "polar bear."
Tass said: "There was a whole series of speeches and statements [by Teng] containing slander against the Soviet Union and its policy. Teng said the U.S.S.R. was the 'main seat of war,' called for 'unification and firm joint actions against the Soviet Union,' and all this was stated not during some private discussions but at meetings in Congress and at official receptions. He made such statements at specially held press conferences."
The outraged Tass tones underline the seriousness with which the Soviets view the vice premier's remarks.
Teng left Washington this morning for Atlanta, and a tour of the United States in a campaign well-publicized by the White House and the media. Full diplomatic relations with Peking is an important foreign policy plum for the president as he heads toward the 1980 election.
The Chinese and Americans have agreed to an anti-hegemonism clause in their resumption of relations which the Soviets believe is aimed at blocking the Soviet Union from a legitimate role in Asia. Senior Soviet analysts have expressed the conviction that Peking is intent upon global war between America and Russia as a means of establishing Chinese dominance.
Quoting "the American press," Tass asserted that "note was taken in the U.S. of Teng's persistent attempts to lecture the American government on how to conduct its foreign policy. It was also noted that some of his statements were actually an attempt to undermine the position of President Carter, who wants the conclusion of a new treaty with the Soviet Union on the limitation of strategic arms."
It is expected that the United States and the Soviet Union will finish negotiating a new SALT treaty early this year and that Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev will journey to Washington in the spring to sign it before a ratification vote in the U.S. Senate.
American sources have speculated that the Russians delayed final agreement at a foreign ministers' conference in December at Geneva to stall a possible Brezhney trip until well after Teng had left the United States and the memory of his trip had faded.
The Tass report tonight in effect challenges the White House to reassure the Kremlin on its own SALT intentions, and perhaps calls into question a Brezhnev trip to a Washington summit.
The Soviets have been extremely wary of the sudden U.s c/hinese rapprochement as well as the Peking diplomatic offensive that has carried high Chinese officials to various European capitals since last summer. Brezhnev has warned in letters to the British and Italians against selling arms to the Chinese, and the Soviets recently in effect rebuked Carter for placing too rosy an interpretation on a Brezhnev message concerning the announcement of normalized relations between Washington and Peking.