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Japan's foreign minister gets first glimpse of future Chinese leader

By Takashi OkaStaff correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor / September 4, 1980



Peking

For the first time, Prime Minister Hua Guofeng has introduced Deputy Premier Zhao Ziyang to a foreign visitor as his successor. In a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Masayoshi Ito, Mr. Hua personally introduced Mr. Zhao and said he would be formally elected prime minister on Sept. 10, after Mr. Hua's own speech announcing his resignation Sept. 7.

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While speaking with Mr. Ito, who is in Japan after visits to Thailand, Burma, India, and Pakistan, Mr. Hua also referred to SinoAmerican relations. According to Mr. Ito, he said that despite the contretemps over the Republican presidential candidates remarks on Taiwan, Sino-American relations were based on a joint communique between the two countries.

"There is already a thick strand between us," Mr. Ito quoted Mr. Hua as saying, "so Sino-American relations will neither retrogress nor stand still, but are bound to move forward."

On Korea, another subject of concern to the Japanese, Mr. Hua reminded Mr. Ito that during his state visit to Japan at the end of May, he had said that a North Korean invasion of the South was "unthinkable."

Since then, many things had happened, including the assumption of the presidency by Gen. Chun Doo Hwan. The Chinese had their own views on that, and they maintained their desire for more democratization in South Korea. At the same time, Mr. Hua said, Peking continued to believe that North-south dialogue was important in Korea. He then repeated his assertion that a North Korean invasion of the South was "unthinkable."

The comment is taken as indicating that despite the strong public stand Peking has taken in support of North Korea against Gen. Chun, the Chinese are continuing to counsel utmost prudence and restraint on the North Koreans.

Top Chinese officials have stressed in the past few weeks that there will be a continuity in China's domestic and foreign policies despite the changes in government leaders.