China supports proposals that an international peacekeeping force and an international supervision committee be sent to Cambodia to oversee a political settlement there, Chinese leader Zhao Ziyang said Friday.
Zhao, general secretary of the Communist Party of China, made the statement at a meeting with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita, the official New China News Agency reported.Japan last month announced its willingness to contribute money for such an international peacekeeping force and to contribute personnel to an international team to supervise elections if a political settlement is reached between the Vietnamese-installed government in Phnom Penh and a three-faction resistance coalition.
Zhao's comments set the stage for the arrival here Saturday of Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Igor A. Ro-gachev for talks on Cambodia, which could pave the way for peace in Cambodia, normalization of Sino-Soviet relations and a Sino-Soviet summit conference.
Zhao told Takeshita that resolution of the Cambodia conflict hinged primarily on the withdrawal of Vietnamese troops. He also said, according to the news agency, that a four-party coalition government should be set up incorporating all the Cambodian factions on both sides of the conflict and headed by Prince Noro-dom Sihanouk, a former ruler who is now a resistance leader.
Takeshita, according to a Japanese official who spoke on condition that he not be identified by name, told Zhao that Japan agreed with China's policy on Cambodia and that he would encourage creation of a four-party coalition government.
The United States has publicly expressed interest in the formation of an international peacekeeping force in Cambodia. One purpose of such a force would be to try to ensure that the Khmer Rouge, which conducted a reign of terror in Cambodia from 1975 through 1978 and is now the most powerful resistance faction, does not return to power.
The Khmer Rouge were ousted by a Vietnamese invasion in 1978. Vietnam still has about 100,000 soldiers in Cambodia but has promised to withdraw them by 1990.
China has backed both Sihanouk and the Khmer Rouge with material and political support for more than a decade, while the Soviet Union has supported Vietnam and the present government in Phnom Penh.
Recently China has emphasized that the Cambodian issue is the major obstacle to normalizing Sino-Soviet relations, which have been strained since the early 1960s. Premier Li Peng reiterated that point Tuesday in a meeting with Takeshita.