Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) said here today that China's leaders believe Washington had agreed implicitly in 1978 to slash or stop weapons sales to Taiwan after Sino-American relations were normalized in 1979.

"They China felt there was at least a tacit understanding that we would either have drastically diminished or no arms sales to Taiwan after a short period of time after normalization," said Glenn, who ended two days of talks with Chinese officials.

China has vociferously criticized U.S. arms sales to Taiwan as a violation of the spirit of the 1979 normalization pact in which Washington recognized Peking as the sole legal government of China and Taiwan as part of China.

But Peking has never contended publicly that the U.S. side had implied during the 1978 negotiations that it would reduce or halt arms to Taiwan, which had been a staunch U.S. ally for 30 years.

U.S. officials say both sides had agreed in 1978 to shelve the complex Taiwan issue and go ahead with establishment of diplomatic relations in the hope that friendlier bilateral relations would facilitate a later solution.

Glenn is the ranking Democrat on the East Asian and Pacific affairs subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.