The long-awaited announcement that President Reagan and Premier Zhao Ziyang are to exchange visits next year reflects a dramatic improvement in the atmosphere of Chinese-American relations.
After meeting Wednesday with senior leader Deng Xiaoping in Peking, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger said that Mr. Reagan is to visit China next April and that Mr. Zhao plans to visit the US next January, Monitor correspondent Takashi Oka writes. Mr. Weinberger then traveled to Xian and Shanghai to tour the spectacular excavations of an ancient emperor's life-size terra cotta army and to visit the East China Fleet.
Mr. Weinberger, whose meetings with Mr. Deng, Premier Zhao, and Defense Minister Zhang Aiping seem to have gone extraordinarily well appears to have fulfilled the two main purposes of his China visit: to reestablish high-level personal contacts between Chinese and American defense establishments and to work out procedures for transferring high technology and possibly weapons systems from the US to China.
The real meat of the Weinberger visit has been in the lower level, highly concentrated talks on high technology and weapons sales. These discussions, the results of which have not been disclosed, are to continue, and Defense Minister Zhang has accepted an invitation from Mr. Weinberger to visit Washington fairly soon. Exchanges at this level are expected to increase in number and variety.