For the first time, the President's people are letting it be known that Mr. Reagan may add Peking to his list of stops when he makes his planned trip to the Far East in early winter, probably in November.
An adviser to the President told the Monitor that ''the China trip now is a possibility.''
He said that if Zhao Ziyang, premier of the People's Republic of China, accepts the invitation tendered by the United States to visit here this fall, the prospect of Reagan going to Peking will become more than a possibility.
Even without the Zhao visit, there still is a ''chance'' now that Reagan will go to China, the adviser says. The President's trip to the Far East, as now planned, includes stops in Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand.
Within the White House there has been, for some time, an expressed hope that Reagan could visit China during his term. But ever since the Far East trip was announced, these sources have been adamant in saying the President would not add China to his prospective trip into that part of the world.
The President is known to believe that the United States' shared strategic outlook with China - the belief in both nations that the Soviet Union constitutes the greatest danger to them and to the stability of the world - makes a trip to Peking and meeting with leaders there most desirable.
Furthermore, as Reagan's strategists point out, by going to Peking Reagan would be playing his China card - reminding the Soviets of what a strong China-US alliance could mean.
A China visit could also put pressure on Soviet leader Yuri Andropov for a summit meeting - something Reagan has been talking about.
China watchers have noted of late that US-China relations are remaining surprisingly stable despite irritants in that relationship.
Problems that a Peking summit could address would include the continuing US arms sales to Taiwan, and American high-technology transfers to China.