PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 6918


Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 20/05/1986

Release Type: Press Conference

Transcript ID: 6918

20 MAY 1986
PM: I must say that it was one of the most remarkable
experiences I have had to be able to have nearly 1 a hours
with Chairman Deng. He was very generous in his time
and his exposition. I think what is remarkable is not
merely the magnitude of the of the changes which are
envisaged but also the realism and the preparedness to
admit that mistakes will be made, that they will have
to be faced up to. He has pointed out that when the reform
started in 1980 they were put in terms of looking at
a quadrupling of per capita national income from the
US$ 250 that it was then up to US$ 1000 by the end of this
century. He said of course that they had had outstanding
success in the 5 years of the Sixth Five Year Plan from
1980-85 where the reforms were initiated in the rural
sector associated with significant increases in production
and lifts in income. He said that as they have come to
look again at the problems and the fact that as they
go towards the end of century there will be a lift in
population up perhaps to 1.2 billion or that sort of
order that they have revised somewhat their expectations
to perhaps a level of between US$ 800 1000 per capita
income. It may be that they will be able to get towards
the upper levels of that expectation.* He says now that
of course the reforms are moving thto the more complex
more difficult area of urban economic reform that the
burdens that have been on the back of China in the past
as they have gone about growth must be removed. There
are two areas of burdens which he identified the burdens
of very high levels of subsidies in so many areas of
consumption accommodation as well as actual consolidation
of goods and the burden of the total centralising in
the past of decision making. There must be the removal
of that burden so that actual enterprises have the opportunity
and the responsibility of decision making. He says that
as those two burdens are removed there will be, he believes,
an easier path to growth. It is very interesting that
Chairman Deng also projects as far as into the middle
of the next century where he puts the aim of China
approach the level of the developed countries of the
world. If they have reached US$ 1000 by the end of the
century then they can think again of the quadrupling
in a similar period of time which would be something

the end of the first quarter of the next century. And
so you can see that there approach is of a pattern. It
is not just thinking, about today, next year but the lifting
of China towards the levels of the developed countries.
All this is associated with the belief, and I think this
is fundamental to understand, that they see peace as
absolutely necessary to the achievement of their objectives.
Chairman Deng makes the point that they have changed
their thinking from where in the last decade they saw
war as inevitable they no longer see war as inevitable.
And they see a . growth in the forces for peace. They point
out that four fifths of the world's population are in
developing countries with China 1 billion, India
three quarters of a billion and that for these countries
peace is important and as China grows in economic strength
it will increase in its power as a force for peace. One
interesting comment that the Chairman made in response
to a question when I wondered whether the radical changes
in China may have some effect within the Soviet Union
he said that that may be the case but he said what was
essential for the processes of reform and growth and
change and development was flexibility and China had
that and doubted whether the Soviet Union had that same
flexibility. Now I am sorry that I can't speak longer
but those were parts of the essentials of what was perhaps
one of the most interesting l1 hours of my life I would
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, did yo have any discussion
on what role Australia may play in China's future development?
PM: Not in details because that is obviously more appropriately
a matter for discussion with the Premiers and other officials.
May I say at the beginning it was very interesting to
note that Chairman Deng said that he sits back, he says
he doesn't interfere, he has great confidence in the
capacity of his leaders and occasionally he said he gives
them some advice but not too much he said because he
doesn't need to. He has great confidence in them. So
I mean that in a sense is a reflection of the fact that
Chairman Deng is more concerned with the broad sweep
issues. He has obviously been the great inspiration of
what's happened in recent years and is still obviously
revered and will continue to be. But he is concerned
with the broad sweep. But let me say this that he did
say how importantly they regard the relationship with
Australia. They regard Australia as a country with a
close identity of views and perceptions on a wide range
of issues.
JOURNALIST: Did you talk at all about the political
stability in China

PM: Yes, he expressed the view that quite frankly in
the past and he said even perhaps in some areas now there
have been the sceptics. But he said their approach is
to allow the facts to be evidence. And he said the facts
are evidence for the correctness of our policies and
increasingly as the facts of achievement become more
and more apparent so he believes will the acceptance
of the processes of change be accepted.
JOURNALIST: Do you take the fact that he has given you
an audience on this visit as an endorsement of your Government's
China policy?
PM: Well I think it would be perhaps taking things too
far just to say that. I think that it is quite clear
if you look at the almost unparalleled arrangements that
have been made for me on this visit with Secretary-General
Hu Yaobang accompanying me and then Hu Chi Li accompanying
me after that that the meeting with the Chairman Deng
is part of a reflection on the part of the Chinese leadership
of the very, very high importance that they attach to
our relationship. And I am deeply gratified, I mean it
is a question not just of personal satisfaction, but
I think on the behalf of Australia we should be very
gratified that clearly the whole Chinese leadership attaches
such importance to our relationship. It does seem to
me to constitute a re-affirmation in the strongest possible
terms of the importance reciprocally that they as we
do attach to the relationship between our two countries
and the possibility for very extensive growth in that
relationship, not merely in economic terms although that
is important but in the whole range of relations in cultural,
scientific, sporting fields as well as in the area of
economic and commercial relations.

Transcript 6918