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Jimmy Carter and Deng Xiaoping, who brought the United...

By PAUL LOONG

PEKING -- Jimmy Carter and Deng Xiaoping, who brought the United States and China together after 30 years of hostility, urged President Reagan Thursday not to let Sino-American relations deteriorate.

The former president said U.S.-China ties must move ahead or else 'become unstable' and the Chinese Vice Chairman said he hoped the links would not 'stagnate.'

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'A recurring problem in Sino-American relations has been that rhetoric has exceeded performance. That there has been more thunder than beneficial rain,' Carter said at the end of four days of meetings in Peking.

He left early Friday for Xian, ancient capital of the Tang dynasty and starting off point of the historic silk road.

Before leaving, he sought to minimize his differences with Reagan, whose strong support for Taiwan, including weapons, is perceived as a threat to Sino-American relations.

Carter said there seemed to be a 'deviation' from Sino-American friendship during Reagan's early days in office but said now recent statements had been 'very reassuring.'

'My own assessment now is that the policy of the present administration is compatible with the agreements consumated between me and Vice Chairman Deng Xiaoping at the time of normalization,' he told reporters.

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Carter and his family, on the fourth day of a visit at the invitation of the Chinese foreign ministry to honor his role in re-establishing relations, have taken the country in stride in typical Carter style.

The former president has jogged, climbed the Great Wall and dined on Peking duck. Carter and his wife Rosalynn rose at dawn Thursday and rode bicycles through the streets of the Chinese capital.

In addition to seeing Deng, the Communist Party vice chairman who is the most powerful leader in China, Carter became the first American to meet newly elected Chairman Hu Yaobang, Deng's close ally.

Carter, whose administration re-established relations with Peking in 1979 after a 30-year break, reiterated that the cornerstone of the normalization agreement was that 'there is only one China and Taiwan is part of China.'

China fears the lingering dispute over Taiwan could bring developing relations to a halt -- or even reverse the progress.

In an interview on Chinese television, Carter said any arms sales to Taiwan, which China considers a rebel province rather than a separate country, must be 'strictly defensive' in nature.

But his remark pointed up the fundamental disagreement between Washington and Peking over the arms sales issue.

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'Our commitment was that they must be done with prudence, that the arms be strictly defensive in nature and not the kind of weapons that could be used offensively against the mainland,' Carter said.

The Chinese, however, now object to all arms sales to Taiwan.

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