U.S. Defense Secretary Harold Brown, ending four days of talks with Chinese military leaders here, said the United States and China would independently move to streghten nations in the Afghanistan area and that a high Chinese military delegation would visit the United States.
Brown also indicated at a press conference that Washington would be receptive to future Chinese requests to buy high-technology equipment like computers that could have some military application.
He again ruled out any U.S. sale of arms to China, however, and did not specify what action Peking and Washington would take to counter the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, an event which has done much to unify American and Chinese strategic views.
On the Soviet presence in Afghanistan, Brown said Chinese and U.S. views "are very closely parallel about the need to strengthen other nations in the region and each side will take appropriate action on its own toward that end." He refused to retail those steps, however.
The statement appeared to reflect earlier hints by U.S. officials here that both nations would try to increase military aid to Pakistan, whose border is threatened by the presence of bands of Afghan insurgents fighting the invading Soviet Army.
Chinese Defense Minister Xu Xiangqian in a toast at a farewell banquet for Brown tonight, called the visit "fruitful" and said it would "exert an influence which is not to be ignored for the maintenance of peace in Asia and the world."
The Chinese have appeared pleased but somewhat cautions in light of the growing American approval of their long-held opinion of the Soviets as dangerous aggressors. Xu said wryly in his toast that "more and more countries have come to draw similar conclusions." He said he hoped Chinese relations with U.S. armed forces would "steadily develop."
Officials travelling with Brown said that developing a military relationship with a communist former adversary was delicate matter that could only have a beginning during Brown's short visit, and that immediate arms sales to China would be too severe a provocation to the Soviets. Many officials suggested the relationship with China's military leaders would grow stronger, however, and they did not rule out arms sales at some future date.
In his banquet toast, Brown announced that the Chinese had accepted his invitation to have Vice Premier and Deputy Army Chief of Staff Geng Biao visit the United States. Defense Minister Xu is Brown's direct counterpart and like Geng a member of the ruling party Politburo, but he is 78 years old and has occasionally been reported in ill health. No date has been set for the visit by Geng, who attended all of Brown's talks here and whom Brown described as my "most active counterpart."
Brown said a delegation from the Chinese military academy, which he visited yesterday, would travel to the United States in the near future as part of a plan to "broaden contacts and exchange between our two defense establishments."
Brown visited the Great Wall of China this morning and then moved on to see a firing demonstration by the 6th Tank Division, which fought in the Korean War. After the demonstration, with Soviet model tanks that American military experts said were somewhat small and outdated, Brown climbed up on top of a tank to inspect the inside cockpit and he was photographed by Chinese and U.S. cameramen.
He returned to Peking and met for two hours with Chinese Communist Party Chariman, Premier and Military Commission Chairman Hua Guofeng. An official New China News Agency story said the discussion "focused in detailed on the situation in Afghanistan." Brown said later there was no date yet for Hua's scheduled U.S. visit this year.
At a press conference attended by Chinese, European, Japanese and Soviet journalists as well as American Brown said that besides his own 17 hours of talks there were "an unprecedently wide rangs of couterpart talks between members of my delegation and Chinese officials."
Brown announced yesterday that some of those talks had reached agreement for U.S. sale to Peking of a satellite ground station which can be used for some military purposes, and that "we are willing to discuss other technology transfers" on a "case by case basis."
Asked what issues Peking and Washington disagreed on, Brown said the Chinese still disapproved of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, the offshore island whose government is theoretically engaged in a civil war with the mainland. The Chinese press has conspicuously refrained from any vehement objections to the latest announced sale of some defensive U.S. weapons to Taiwan, announced just two days before Brown's visit.
Brown said Peking also formally disapproved the presence of U.S. troops in South Korea. He said he did not want to "minimize" such differences, but hoped the talks would help overcome them.
At today's meeting with Hua, Brown was accompanied by Underesecretary of Defense Robert Komer, principal Deputy Undesecretary David E. McGiffert, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke and U.S. Ambassador Leonard Woodcock. Brown is to leave Peking early Thursday to visit a jet fighter base, a boat building facility in Wuhan and the headquarters of the East China fleet in Shanghai before leaving China Sunday.