Chinese officials visiting France said today that a political settlement in Cambodia is "not realistic" at the present time and indicated that China will continue to give military support to "the patriotic forces of Cambodia" fighting against vietnam.
The statement came during a restricted press conference at which the Chinese also ended the kid-gloves approach with which the subject of the Soviet Union had been treated since the start Monday of Chinese Premier Hua Guofeng's European trip, the first tour of Western Europe by a Chinese leader. Remarks about Moscow had been confined until today to complaints from Hua about the "hegemonism" of an unnamed power.
At the press conference, Chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua took the place of Hua Guofeng, who was described as tired and slightly indisposed. Later in the day, Hua resumed the schedule of his current state visit to France.
he only other departure from Hua's program had been his previously unscheduled breakfast meeting yesterday with former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, the architect of the U.S. reconciliation with China. Kissinger was here to promote the French edition of his memoirs.
In Peking yesterday, former Cambodian leader Norodom Sihanouk said he was confident that the Chinese, "who are realistic," will turn to him once the Chinese-supported remnants of the Khmer Rouge government of Pol Pot have been eliminated by the current vietnamese military offensive.
At today's press conference here, Huang Hua volunteered no specific reference to the future of former Cambodian leader Sihanouk, nor was he asked directly about Sihanouk by name.
Huang said, however, that the Vietnamese are conducting a military campaign to take control of all of Cambodia, as a step toward creation of a Vietnamese-controlled Indochinese federation. Under those circumstances, he said, there can be no political solution until Vietnamese forces are first withdrawn from Cambodia.
The foreign minister said that Vietnam was acting on Moscow's behalf as "an oriental Cuba." "China cannot permit Vietnam to reign as the absolute master in Southeast Asia, as the Cubans do in Africa," Huang said.
Asked whether China is considering an invasion of Vietnam, Huang replied that before February's Chinese military "lesson" administered to Vietnam, Peking had "maturely reflected" and concluded that Vietnam "cannot by itself constitute a threat to China."
The Soviet Union is setting itself up in Vietnam, Huang said, to form a string of military positions south of China, stretching from the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, across the Indian Ocean to Southeast Asia.
While Huang said that detente is "not irreversible," he was relatively moderate in his comments about Soviet-U.S. attempts to control the arms race.
We do not oppose such discussions nor such agreements or treaties. it is possible that these agreements could have some meaning." he said.
But, Huang warned, "it is most important to answer tit for tat against acts of expansion and agression," and European countries must strengthen their unity and defenses since the Soviets have great military superiority in Europe.
In Peking, Sihanouk announced that he would go to France at the end of November and then to the United States. The French say privately that they intend to wait to see how much support he can rally, but that he is obviously someone who could serve as a force for conciliation and reunification in Cambodia.
French officials say they have the impression that the Chinese are wondering how much they can count on Sihanouk not to change his allegiance, as he had done before.
French officials also say Cambodia was the major concrete political problem discussed with Hua in a visit that has been long on ceremony and symbolism, and relatively short on accomplishments.
There have been frequent recollections of president Charles de Gaulle's action in sending the first Western ambassador to Peking in 1964, a move that was highly displeasing to Washington at the height of the Vietnam war.
There was also an agreement signed to increase cultural exchanges, including the establishment of a full university program in French at Wuhan University, an exhibition next year in Peking on the century of Louis XIV that will include treasures from Versailles and the Louvre, and a tour of France by the Peking Opera and a theater troupe.
In the past few days, Hua visited the chateau at Versailles, inaugurated a marble plaque on the working-class building where the late Chinese premier Chou En-lai lived from 1920-24 as a student and Renault automobile factory employee and attended a performance of the ballet "Swan Lake" at the Paris Opera.
After a final luncheon with French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Hua went to Brittany for a two-day tour of agricultural cooperatives, universities and the Oceanographic Studies Center.
On Sunday, he is to go to West Germany, the next leg of a three-week tour that also includes Britain and Italy.