Vice presidential candidate George Bush has told Chinese officials that Ronald Reagan would not renew official U.S. relations with Taiwan and that statements suggesting he would were the result of a chaotic Saturday press conference, an aide traveling with Bush said tonight.
The aide, who sat in on 4 1/2 hours of talks between Bush and Chinese Foreign Ministry officials today, said the Chinese appeared very satisfied with Bush's answers on Taiwan and turned to other topics after only 15 to 20 minutes od discussion.
He said Bush assured the Chinese that Republican presidential candidate Reagan, if elected, would strengthen relations with Peking and not turn the present unofficial American Institute on Taiwan into an official liaison office.
The aide's remarks seem to contradict Reagan's statements as reported from the Saturday press conference in Los Angeles and went much further in denying any Reagan intent to strenghten ties with Taiwan than Bush has been willing to go in public so far during his visit here.
Peter Teeley, Bush's press secretary, said later the aide's description of Bush's remarks to the Chinese was "essentially correct." [Reagan, returning to Los Angeles on Wednesday after a three-day campaign trip, said he did not favor a "two-China" policy and disputed news accounts that he did. Reagan said he would not attempt to change the present relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China.]
According to a tranacript of Reagan's Saturday press conference, called to mark Bush's departure for China, Reagan was asked if he was "no longer advocating governmental relations" with Taiwan.
Reagan replied in part, "I think from the very first that I was talking about an official governmental relationship." Under the Taiwan Relations Act, he continued, "There are provisions for governmental relations. They just haven't been implemented."
He was then asked, "Would you advocate their implementation, establishing government-to-government relations?" He replied: "Yes, I think that liaison office is what I stress. That could be official. But at all times I stressed that we also intended to continue working toward increasing this relationship with the People's Republic of China."
At a banquet last night, one high Chinese official who participated in today's talks said Bush "answered many of our questions."
But Hao Deqing, president of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, seemed to take a wait-and-see attitude in his toast: "There is a Chinese saying, 'After traveling a long distance, we will know the strength of our horse . . .' That means, only after working together for a long time will we be able to tell which one is a true friend and which is a false friend."
The rest of the toast was warm and friendly, however.
In his opening remarks to Bush this morning, Chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua said, "We hold that any remarks that have the effect of retrogressing from the current sate of Sino-American relations would do harm to the continuing basis on which our relations are built and . . . to the interests of the Chinese and American people and the people of the whole world."
Monday, the People's Daily here had blasted Reagan for allegedly attempting to destroy the 1979 agreement for the U.S. recognition of Peking as the capital of the real China and demanded an explanation from Bush.
Bush said in his opening response to Huang that the Republican Party platform called for "continuing to improve relations with the People's Republic of China."