Two secret monitoring stations to detect Soviet missile test were set up in China with U.S. equipment and Chinese personnel during the Carter administration and are being continued by the Reagan administration, NBC-TV reported last night.
The NBC account by diplomatic correspondent Marvin Kalb expanded on a report that first appeared in The Washington Post last Sunday, and in Monday's New York Times.
Existence of the electronic intelligence outposts has been treated as a top secret in the United States and China, even though The Post, in a front-page article on April 20, 1979, reported that Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping offered Chinese territory to replace the electronic eavesdropping posts the United States operated on the Iranian-Soviet border before the Iranian revolution.
Deng made the offer in response to questions from Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), who was visiting Peking with a Senate delegation led by Frank Church (D-Idaho), then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.Deng made it clear that the monitoring stations would have to be operated by Chinese and that Peking would share the collected data with Washington.
The Post reported in Sunday's Outlook section that a broader exchange of intelligence data was likely to be discussed during Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr.'s talks in Peking.
Last night's NBC report said "two listening posts equipped with sophisticated American technology and manned by Chinese specialists" have been operating, a product of a secret agreement between the Carter administration and the leaders of the People's Republic of China. President Reagan, "because of his strong anti-Soviet policy," the report went on, "decided to continue this intelligence collaboration with China, considering the information vital to U.S. interests."
NBC noted that Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy F. Dobrynin was at the State Department yesterday "complaining about the decision," announced Tuesday, to sell U.S. arms to China.
U.S. officials repeatedly have refused to discuss on the record any arrangements for intelligence exchanges with China.