Chinese and American officials finished a day of "busy and quite productive talks" today by announcing they planned to hold discussions in more detail on how to respond to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Officials traveling with U.S. Department Secretary Harold Brown said they thought much progress had been made in the first full day of talks here and were struck by what one called the "significant convergence of views." They did not specify, however, what sort of counter to the Soviet action was being discussed.
An official New China News Agency statement echoed the American comments and said, "The two sides agreed, resisting and opposing the Soviet Union's military aggression and its expansionist ambitions was a matter of greater urgency at present."
An American official said working groups would begin Tuesday to discuss details of possible U.S. sales to China of high-technology equipment, such as computers, with possible military use. Other groups would discuss exchange of military delegations, increased Chinese participation in international arms control discussions and what a U.S. official called "trends in strategic balances."
Official American briefings and statements in the official Chinese press, including front-page coverage in People's Daily of strong anti-Soviet remarks by Brown indicated that both sides were pleased at their ability to agree so readily on the implications of the Afghanistan situtation. But both sides appeared uncertain just how they might cooperate in resisting the Soviets.
An official statement released by both sides said: "Secretary Brown and Vice Premier Geng Biao, based on their repective governments' proclaimed positions, had a lengthy discussion of the situtation in Afghanistan, including the nature and seriousness of the Soviet aggression. The two sides decided to have follow-on discussions on the effects in the region of the Soviet actions and to consult further on appropriate responses." r
Brown held about seven hours of talks today before attending a Chinese Army cultural performance this evening. He spent three hours this morning and at least two more this afternoon talking to Vice Premier Geng, who appears to fill a role as foreign policy specialist for the ruling Communist Party Politburo. At least half of the morning discussion dealt with Afghanistan and Southwest Asia, with the two sides contributing equally, a U.S. official said.
Brown spent about two hours at lunch with chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua. A U.S. official said most of their discussion was on Indochina, where both Washington and Peking have opposed the Soviet-backed Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, and also Southwest Asia.
An American official, pressed for details on what joint action the United States and China might take, would say only that up to now cooperation has consisted of each country taking independent positions that reinforced each other.
The New China News Agency story on Brown's talks today said, "The two sides situation was more turbulent than before, and that the Soviet Union's action directly endangered world peace and the security of all countries, posting a challenge to the international community."
The Alghanistan invasion intruded into the social life of Peking's foreign community when the Canadian Embassy disclosed it had canceled its traditional winter ice hockey series against the Soviet Embassy team. The Canadians, aided by a few Americans and Swedes usually have been routed in the past by the well-disciplined Soviet skaters, but the weekend games on the Soviet Embassy outdoor rink still drew enthusiastic crowds of vodka-loving sports addicts from all over the Peking diplomatic community.
At an official U.S. background briefing last night, the Soviet interest in Brown's visit was evident as three Soviet news correspondents busily took notes on the remarks of a Defense Department official explaining American objectives.