China sharply attacked Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan today for his renewed support of official U.S. Taiwan relations, and demanded that Reagan's running mate clarify his China stand during a visit here.
The icy Chinese statement, carried as a commentary in the official People's Daily, put unusual pressure on Republican vice presidential candidate George Bush to dispute Reagan, or defend him and risk further Chinese anger.
[Bush arrived in Peking early Wednesday and said he is confident he will have no trouble dealing with Chinese concerns about Reagan's China policy, Associated Press reported.]
The Chinese statement called Reagan's renewed support for official ties with Taiwan, expressed at a press conference in Los Angeles Saturday marking Bush's departure, part of a "bankrupt" policy and "sheer deception."
The statement noted that Bush said the Taiwan issue was "not going to be the subject matter" of his talks here, which he said would focus on world-wide security and trade. "However," the statement asked, "since Reagan has made successive frivolous remarks on the Taiwan issue, how could Bush, as Reagn's running mate, possibly evade the issue and refrain from giving the necessary clarification?"
Reagan's remark on Saturday appeared to reopen an old wound his advisers has tried for some weeks to heal. Moreover, his defense yesterday of the Vietnam War is likely to add to the controversy here over the Republican nominee's foreign policy.
The Chinese had reacted sharply in June after Reagan first voiced support for some return to official relations with Taiwan. Ties with the Nationalist Chinese government were severed when the Carter Administration recognized Peking in 1979.
Reagan's foreign policy adviser Richard Allen then appeared to soften his candidate's stand, saying that Reagan "would not anticipate any change whatever in the present status of our relations with China."
The official Republican Part platform also avoided mention of renewed official ties with Taiwan, which is now served by an American "institute" in Taipei staffed by temporarily retired U.S. State Department officials. Reagan's Saturday remarks appeared to be offhand and generally favorable toward Peking. He said his call for official relations with Taiwan would not mean closing the U.S. Embassy in Peking. Nevertheless, any mention of official U.S.-Taiwan ties, especially on the occasion of Bush's departure for China, was almost certain to enflame the Chinese, who consider Taiwan to be ruled by an illegal, rebel government.
The Chinese commentary said: "Ronald Reagan tried in his remarks to convince people that the United States can establish 'official' relations with Taiwan while continuing friendly relations with the People's Republic of China. This is sheer deception, as it is known to all that the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States was based on the principle of U.S. recognition of the irrefutable fact that there is only one China and Taiwan is its intergral part.
"The restoration of 'official' relations with Taiwan today would in fact resuscitate the plot of creating "two Hinas' that has gone bankrupt long ago. It is evident that this would in essence destroy the basic principle of the normalization of U.S-China relations and surely affect normalization."
In Tokyo, Allen said Reagan did not support a "two China" policy and did not want to reestablish diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Diplomats here say, however, that what Reagan appears to be suggesting -- the establishment of a lower level U.s. liaison office in Taiwan -- would still be considerd by the Chinese an inexcusable violation of their agreement with Washington and lead Peking to slow down trade and other contacts with the United States.
Bush served as U.S. envoy in Peking from October 1974 to December 1975 and is aware of the extreme Chinese sensitivity to the issue of Taiwan. He has appeared to avoid direct comment on Reagan's views about the Taiwan question, but is expected to encounter the question several times during his scheduled three-day visit here.
Bush's trip here and to Japan were designed to demonstrate the skill of the Republican ticket in handling foreign relations.
American officals here have been told that Bush will probably meet with Communist Part Vice Chairman Deng Xiaoping, the most influential of a group of elderly men running the country, and with Chinese Foreign Minster Huang Hua. He also is scheduled to address a luncheon of the Peking America Club.
The Chinese statement indicated that Peking was particularily upset at Reagan's reopening the Taiwan issue after Allen, who is accompanying Bush, appeared to lay it to rest in late June.
"As the U.S. presidential candidate and a stateman, how can he adopt such an attitude of going back on his word on a serious political problem?" the commentary asked.
The commentary also chided Reagan foar continuing to refer to Taiwan as "the Republic of China." It said Reagan's statements had "evoked great discontent among the broad sections of the Chinese people" and also "aroused strong disaffection and repercussions in the United States."
"This indicates that Reagan's insensible proposition is unacceptable to the U.S. people, for it not only constitutes an action interfering in China's internal affairs, but also willbring damage to U.S. interests," the statement said.