PEKING -- Vice President George Bush said Tuesday he saw a broad strengthening in Sino-American relations despite stern warnings from Chinese officials over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.
Bush, speaking to reporters at the end of a 2 -day visit to Peking, said Taiwan figured prominently in several of his meetings with top Chinese officials. But he said it did not dominate the discussions.
Chinese reports stressed Peking's concern over American arms sales to Taiwan, warning the policy could lead to serious setbacks in Sino-U.S. relations.
And in talks with Bush early Tuesday, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping said while Sino-U.S. ties were 'normal on the whole,' they cannot develop smoothly in all fields until the 'major question' of Taiwan is settled.
Despite Chinese claims to the contrary, Bush said Washington was abiding by Sino-U.S. communiques calling for a gradual reduction in the quantity and quality of arms sold to Taiwan.
He said in his discussions that he detected no new sense of urgency, nor was there any sign of Peking changing its position on U.S. ties with Taiwan, considered a rebel province by China since Nationalist forces fled there after the 1949 communist takeover.
'No one issue or problem constitutes a major theme of this visit,' Bush said. 'Sino-U.S. relations have moved beyond the point where one issue, one problem, one area of concern, can dominate the relationship.
'We think that it (Taiwan) is clearly an issue for the Chinese side and we had frank discussions about it. But things are moving forward in many, many fields.'
In addition to Taiwan, Bush said his 'frank and cordial' talks with Chinese officials touched on a broad range of economic and trade issues, the Soviet Union and the sensitive topic of human rights in China.
The vice president, who served as head of the U.S. Liaison Office in Peking 10 years ago, acknowledged that human rights were discussed but he refused to provide any further details.
Asked about prospects for improving bilateral economic ties, Bush said, 'I think the sky's the limit, I think the door is wide open.'
But he said there were problems on the horizon, including Peking's concerns about growing U.S. protectionism and pending legislation that would cut Chinese textile exports to the United States.
'I've told them that there are some human concerns in our country - some people are being thrown out of work in some fields in the United States,' Bush said.
'I also said that our administration is going to resist the siren's call for protectionism. We're going to do our level best to see that China has access to U.S. markets.'
Bush said Peking could show 'more understanding' for the problems faced by American firms doing business in China, citing limitations on repatriating profits and the lack of a bilateral investment treaty.