BONN, SEPT. 7 -- A military honor guard welcomed East German chief of state Erich Honecker on an unprecedented trip to West Germany today, with Honecker and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl then holding talks on the sensitive issues of human rights and arms limitation.

Kohl, in a toast after a dinner honoring Honecker, urged the communist leader to dismantle the Berlin Wall and to order border guards to stop shooting at would-be escapers. Honecker did not respond directly. He rebuffed Kohl's assertions that the two Germanys might someday be reunited.

Both sides characterized the talks as a positive step for inter-German relations, but they provided few details at the end of the first day of the five-day visit. The two leaders appeared to be taking a generally cautious approach, sticking to a carefully planned agenda.

Honecker, 75, achieved a long-held goal when he was greeted at the chancellery in Bonn with nearly all of the trappings normally given to a foreign head of state.

The playing of East Germany's national anthem and the flying of its flag were significant because West Germany technically does not recognize East Germany as a foreign nation.

Kohl said this evening that West Germany was sticking to its constitutional commitment to seek German reunification. "We have no doubt that this is in accordance with the wishes, the will and, yes, the longing of people in Germany," Kohl said.

But the chancellor added that reunification "is at present not on the agenda of world history."

Honecker, in his toast, emphasized "the realities" of "the existence of two independent, sovereign German states." He added, "Socialism and capitalism cannot be united any more than fire and water." That phrase did not appear in the text that originally was released to the media, and apparently was inserted in response to Kohl.

In an obvious appeal to Honecker to revoke the infamous "order to shoot," Kohl urged "that the weapons at the border be permanently silenced."

"Violence that hits the defenseless is especially damaging to peace," Kohl said.

Germans "suffer because of a wall that is literally in their way and repels them," Kohl said. "In dismantling what divides people, we would heed demands from the Germans, demands that cannot be ignored." The chancellor also urged a step-by-step removal of all restrictions on travel.

Honecker made no public commitments regarding travel or other human rights issues. He noted, however, that 866,000 East Germans below retirement age were allowed to visit West Germany in the first eight months of this year. That compares to 573,000 in all of 1986.

"We hope and expect that {the talks here} will advance normalization of relations," Honecker said. His statements concentrated on the importance of preserving peace. In his opening talk with Kohl this morning, he restated a number of the Eastern Bloc's longstanding disarmament proposals, according to a statement by East German Foreign Ministry spokesman Wolfgang Meyer.

These included a proposal for creating a corridor 185 miles wide, straddling the inter-German border, where nuclear and chemical weapons would be prohibited.

Honecker said that Kohl's recent pledge to scrap 72 West German Pershing IA missiles, whose presence was obstructing a U.S.-Soviet arms control agreement, was "very welcome," Meyer said.

Honecker also proposed that the two Germanys should hold regular talks on arms control issues, Meyer said.

A catch in that offer was that East Germany suggested the talks be carried out by the two Germanys' foreign ministries. West Germany does not allow its ministry to handle what Bonn calls "inner-German relations."

Honecker is the first East German of his rank to visit West Germany since the two states were formed from ruins of Hitler's Germany at the end of World War II. He is chairman of the council of state -- comparable to president -- and heads the Socialist Unity Party, East Germany's communist party.

West Germans Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt traveled to East Germany as chancellors for inter-German summits there in 1970 and 1981, respectively. And East German premier Willi Stoph visited the West German city of Kassel in 1970.

When Schmidt invited Honecker to make a return visit, the trip was scheduled at least twice. But the Soviet Union forced Honecker to postpone the visit both times in response to Bonn's support fordeployment in West Germany of U.S. medium-range missiles.

The Kremlin's decision to allow Honecker to make the trip this time has been widely interpreted as a sign of an improved East-West climate and particularly of brighter prospects for a U.S.-Soviet treaty on medium-range nuclear weapons.

Honecker held two rounds of discussions with Kohl, and was the guest of honor at a lunch hosted by West German President Richard von Weizsaecker. Honecker invited von Weizsaecker, who holds a largely ceremonial position, to visit East Germany.

Kohl and Honecker had met previously at two funerals in Moscow for Soviet leaders and last year in Stockholm at the funeral of Swedish premier Olof Palme. It is expected to be announced Tuesday that Kohl has accepted an invitation to visit East Germany at a date to be set. West German governmental sources suggested that Kohl would make the trip sometime next year.

Honecker's arrival prompted seven demonstrations -- six opposing him and one in favor. All were orderly and very small, police reported.

A dozen members of a youth organization of Kohl's Christian Democratic Union passed out leaflets saying, "Germany -- United Fatherland." The phrase is from East Germany's national anthem, the text of which has been suppressed for more than 15 years because of East Germany's official opposition to reunification.

Kohl and Honecker discussed joint efforts to safeguard the environment, to improve transit arrangements between West Germany and West Berlin, and to establish new "twin cities" partnerships between communities in the two Germanys.

An East German spokesman said the talks were "businesslike, open and constructive." A West German spokesman said they were conducted in "a good atmosphere."

Honecker will end the official portion of his visit Tuesday in Bonn, and then travel for three days elsewhere in West Germany, including his hometown of Wiebelskirchen.