THE United States National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, on his country's most senior mission to Beijing since a bloody June crackdown, yesterday told Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping that Washington wanted to work with him. Mr. Scowcroft was given a warm greeting by the 85-year-old Deng, who hailed the visit as one of great importance in restoring badly damaged Sino-US ties.
``I believe this visit of yours is a very important one,'' said Mr. Deng during a meeting in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.
``In spite of the disputes and differences between us, after all, Sino-US relations have to be improved. This is something that is necessary for world peace and stability.''
Scowcroft agreed, adding: ``We are interested in working with you to promote that.''
In June, President Bush slapped a ban on high level contacts with Beijing in retaliation for the Chinese Army's crushing of a pro-democracy campaign with a heavy loss of life.
The purpose of the surprise visit by Scowcroft, accompanied by Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, was to brief Chinese leaders on the US-Soviet summit in Malta ended one week ago.
The military crackdown and the ousting of reform Communist leaders in June have pushed Sino-US relations to their lowest point since diplomatic links were forged in 1979.
In addition to halting senior contacts with China, Washington has banned military cooperation and cut government credits.
Beijing frequently has accused the US of orchestrating opposition to it and trying to undermine the Communist Party's rule.
Also China has repeatedly lashed out at the US for harboring leading dissident Fang Lizhi, who took refuge in the American embassy in Beijing shortly after the June military crackdown.
It was not immediately known if Fang, a physicist, was a topic of discussion after reporters were asked to leave the meeting room in the Great Hall.
But Deng expressed hope for a quick solution to the strains in ties between the two countries.