Secretary of State George P. Shultz finished two days of talks with China's top leaders Friday, with both sides admitting there had been differences between them, particularly on the question of Chinese arms sales in the Middle East.
"I feel myself that it is very undesirable to have ballistic missile technology, or ballistic missiles as such, spreading around," Shultz told reporters at a news conference.
While asserting that Sino-American relations generally are good, Shultz said the two nations now sometimes find themselves "talking about problems where we have some perhaps different points of view."
At the outset of a meeting with Shultz, China's top leader, Deng Xiaoping, also emphasized disagreements between the United States and China but sought to minimize their importance.
"It is quite natural for two countries with different points of view to have some differences," Deng said.
The principal dispute between the two countries at the moment concerns U.S. objections to China's sale of missiles in the Middle East.
China has acknowledged selling intermediate-range missiles to Saudi Arabia. In addition, U.S. officials have voiced concern about possible Chinese sales of newly developed short-range M-9 missiles elsewhere in the Middle East.
According to Western officials who keep track of Chinese arms sales, China has concluded a deal to sell the short-range missiles to Syria. The missiles have not yet been delivered.
Shultz said Chinese leaders told him they have not sold missiles to any country but Saudi Arabia.
The secretary of state began voicing public objections to Chinese missile sales last week, during a meeting attended by Asian foreign ministers in Bangkok, Thailand.
His comments apparently irritated the Chinese, who gave Shultz a low-key, somewhat cool reception. The Communist Party organ People's Daily made no mention at all of Shultz on Thursday, the day he arrived in Beijing, and gave scant coverage to his visit Friday.
In addition to arms sales, Shultz talked at length with Chinese officials about the future of Cambodia.
Vietnam has announced it is pulling its troops out of Cambodia by 1990. Shultz has been seeking to prevent the Khmer Rouge, who ruled Cambodia from 1975 through 1978, from returning to power.
Although China has been the principal supporter of the Khmer Rouge, Shultz and other American officials seemed confident they can work with China to prevent the Khmer Rouge from dominating Cambodia again.
"I felt that our discussions on the Khmer Rouge . . . have been unusually fruitful and worthwhile," the secretary of state said.