WASHINGTON, March 15, 1985 (UPI) - Secretary of State George Shultz said Friday President Reagan is set to seek better relations with the Soviet Union and its new leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, ''with energy and realism.''
''He believes that this is a potentially important moment for U.S.-Soviet relations,'' Shultz said at a news conference after briefing Reagan on the talks he and Vice President George Bush held with Gorbachev in Moscow after the funeral of Konstantin Chernenko.
''Our two governments have an opportunity for a high-level dialogue to deal with specific problems and to achieve concrete results. The president remains ready to pursue this process with energy and realism.''
''The president firmly intends to work towards a more constructive relationship across the board,'' Shultz said.
But the secretary of state said it does not mean that the Soviets will somehow change policies with its new 54-year-old leader.
''I think you have to expect continuity,'' Shultz said.
Shultz said Reagan is prepared to seek improvement in a range of issues with the Kremlin -- airline safety, cultural exchanges and trade. But he said although a summit meeting would be ''constructive,'' it may be premature.
''It is true that we have a president starting his second term, his policies are in place, he has the perspective of the four years ahead of him, we have a new leader in Moscow, we have arms talks going on,'' Shultz said.
''The president feels it is important for us to be prepared to move forward if it turns out that that is also the Soviet Union's wish. Mr. Gorbachev in his public statements has indicated that is his wish.''
Shultz said Reagan would welcome the new Soviet leader to Washington at Gorbachev's convenience.
Shultz, who met with Gorbachev for about 80 minutes, said the new leader appeared capable, energetic and well prepared.
''Whether it turns out that we can do business with him is another matter,'' he said. ''It's one thing to be businesslike but then we have to find the substance of the issue and see where we can go on them.
''So we have two businesslike people. The president's prepared to work at it. Whether anything can come of it remains to be seen. But I think there is an important responsibility on both sides to make every effort to take advantage of this moment of opportunity.''
Shultz did not reveal what Gorbachev said in response to Reagan's invitation for a summit meeting.
''The president would be glad to see Mr. Gorbachev here in the United States at his convenience,'' Shultz said at the White House after he briefed Reagan.
''But beyond that I don't have anything to add,'' he said. ''But it would be constructive for them to meet.''
Shultz's remarks were the first time an administration official officially confirmed the invitation to Gorbachev for a summit meeting.
''The president firmly intends to work toward a more constructive relationship across the board,'' Shultz declared. ''What I have said with the president's blessing is that he (Reagan) is prepared to work'' to improve the relationship between the superpowers.
Other administration officials said that when Bush offered Reagan's summit invitation to Gorbachev, the new Soviet leader neither ruled it out nor accepted it in principle. He did, however, accept invitations from French President Francois Mitterrand and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
But it appears no doors were slammed, either. British opposition leader Neil Kinnock said in Moscow that when asked about summit prospects Wednesday, Gorbachev said he was willing to ''give serious consideration to anything that would take the road toward greater understanding and peace.''