The Soviet Union continues to menace Chinese security and is unlikely for the foreseeable future to satisfy China's strategic demands for normalized relations, a senior Chinese official said tonight.
Nevertheless, he said, Peking has agreed to send a special envoy to Moscow this winter for a second round of consultations that is expected to expand commercial and cultural ties between the once bitter communist foes.
The official cautioned that such developments are "normal" for neighboring states and not a harbinger of rapproachement between Moscow and Peking, whose ideological and military feuds have continued for 20 years.
"Consultations themselves don't mean problems can be solved," he said. "There still are very large differences between us."
The official, who asked to remain unidentified, spoke at a dinner with American correspondents based here and expressed the first authoritative Chinese views since the top-secret first round of Sino-Soviet talks ended in Peking Oct. 21.
He said China had decided to resume a dialogue with Moscow after a three-year blackout because Soviet leaders "sent out signals to us and we didn't feel it was right to ignore them."
Nevertheless, he said, Moscow has given no sign of rolling back its aggressive military stance in Afghanistan, Vietnam or along the Sino-Soviet border -- reasons for the Chinese cutoff in discussions in 1979.
In six sessions last month with Deputy Foreign Minister Leonid Ilyichev, Peking restated its position that this Russian "hegemonism" is the main obstacle to normalizing relations, said the Chinese official.
Asked if the Soviets would be likely to abandon their aggressiveness in the near future, he replied, "As I see it, they will not for the foreseeable future."
Then, he was asked, why does China continue the talks? "The fact that the Soviet Union will not change its hegemonistic policy doesn't exclude the possibility it will make some tactical changes," he said.