BEIJING, NOV. 3 -- A senior U.S. official said today he has warned his Chinese counterparts that Beijing's sales of Silkworm missiles to Iran could erode American domestic support for U.S.-China relationships, including further sales of high technology to China.

But Michael H. Armacost, undersecretary of state for political affairs, gave no indication that the Chinese have changed their position that they are not selling weapons to Iran.

When weapons of Chinese origin "hit American flagships and injure Americans and also are directed against friendly nations in the {Persian} Gulf, this has political impact in the United States and potentially erodes support for the important relationships we have developed," Armacost said at a press conference.

Armacost spoke after completing a three-day visit in which he met with Foreign Minister Wu Xueqian and Vice Foreign Minister Zhu Qizhen.

Armacost said Chinese officials repeated an earlier statement that China would take "strict measures" to prevent Chinese weapons exports from being diverted to either Iran or Iraq. He said he was not certain what the measures were but hoped they would have an effect.

The State Department official said Silkworm missiles were of "special concern" to the United States because they have the range and capability of being used against "nonbelligerents" and shipping in the gulf.

The United States decided last month to postpone considering a further easing of restrictions on U.S. high technology sales to China following Iranian Silkworm missile attacks on a Kuwaiti oil terminal and on a Kuwaiti tanker flying a U.S. flag.

Armacost's comments came a day after China's newly elected Communist Party chief, Zhao Ziyang, told reporters that allegations of Chinese weapons sales to Iran were based on "no grounds at all."

"It is unfair to shift the responsibility for the intensification of tensions in the gulf to China," Zhao told foreign journalists at the Great Hall of the People yesterday.

Armacost declined to comment on Zhao's remarks, but said "there is clearly a difference of views."

"Our objective is to put the issue behind us," said Armacost, who argued that the fundamentals of the U.S.-China relationship have not been affected by the disagreement over arms sales or by allegations by U.S. congressmen of Chinese human rights violations in Tibet.

Armacost said the issue of U.S. concern about the human rights situation in Tibet arose during his talks here. But he said he reminded the Chinese that the United States has long recognized that Tibet is a part of China.

"We express our views . . . simply as an expression of American concern about human rights anywhere," said Armacost.

The official said he also expressed the hope that foreign journalists would be able to travel again to Tibet.