A photogragh yesterday incorrectly identified former Pennsylvania governor Raymond Shafer. He is head of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, which jointly sponsored a luncheon for Chinese President Li Xiannian with the National Council for U.S.-China Trade.
President Li Xiannian of China hinted yesterday that expanded U.S. access to China's huge market might be linked to a resolution of the status of Taiwan.
Speaking to American and Chinese businessmen at the National Council for U.S.-China Trade, Li said the Taiwan question remains "a major obstacle to be surmounted" in improving U.S.-Chinese relations. At the same time, he said, "good political relations are an indispensable condition of the development of economic cooperation."
China wants the United States to end its arms sales to Taiwan, which last year totaled about $800 million, on grounds that the sales encourage Taiwan to reject China's offers to negotiate some kind of confederation uniting the island and the mainland.
The United States maintains a liaison office on Taiwan but does not have full diplomatic representation there. President Reagan told Li on Tuesday that the United States wants the Chinese to solve the Taiwan question themselves without U.S. involvement.
In the only extended speech of his 10-day U.S. visit, Li also underscored the warning that China retains its options in the foreign policy field. "We will never enter into an alliance or strategic relations with any big power," he said. "It is China's policy to open up to the whole world, with no discrimination against any country."
This was apparently a reference to a trade agreement with the Soviet Union signed earlier this month, the first one since the 1950s. U.S. efforts to coax China into some kind of strategic alliance have long since been abandoned, even as China has moved to ease the strain in its relations with Moscow.
The remarks could be seen as a reassurance to both the United States and the Soviet Union that China will pick its friends carefully. But they come one week after China announced a pullback of its "open door" economic strategy, saying new foreign investment contracts will be restricted in 10 of the 14 coastal cities opened last year to foreign investment and technology.
Later, Li met with Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, presumably to discuss possible limits on and conditions of China's future technology purchases.
U.S. officials said possible future arms buys would involve only defensive weapons, including artillery shells, antitank missiles, radar and anti-submarine weaponry.
Last night, Li gave a dinner for Vice President Bush at the Chinese Embassy