PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Whitlam, Gough

Period of Service: 05/12/1972 - 11/11/1975
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  • Whitlam, Edward Gough

Prime Minister Whitlam's Speech at Peking Banquet, Peking,
October 31, 1973 ( Nsinhua) Following is the full text of the
speech in reply by Australian Prime Minister Edward Gough Whitlam
at the welcoming banquet given by Premier Chou En-lai here this
Premier Chou En-lai, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Your Australian guests are immensely impressed by the
splendour and warmth of our reception at the airport, along the
boulevard and in the Great Hall of the People.
The days of our staying here two years and three months
ago we will never forget, our reception on that occasion and now
on this. Australia is moving in a new direction, in its relationships
with the world and specifically with the region in which Australia
inevitably belongs. The course that we are setting is already clear
and committed. Our concern is no longer exclusively with nations in
far removed areas of the globe. Now, our concern is with all nations
and particularly those with whom we share a common environment and
common interests and with whom we seek relationships of equality.
In Peking today, we give expression to our new international outlook0
With no nation is our new aspiration symbolised more than it is with
China, a power not only in our region but in the world0 We look to
a future in which over-emphasis on particular associations will no
longer distort the proper relationships which should exist between
Australia and all neighbours0 In our view, this meeting in Peking
contributes significantly towards that future0
China is our close neighbour0 In China today we see a great
modernising force, capable of exerting profound influence in the
world. Close co-operation and association between our two peoples is
both natural and beneficial0 This co-operation this association
will be strengthened by our talks this week in Peking the first
such talks ever between Prime Ministers of China and Australia.
In 1971 a small pa~ rty and I visited China before the first
visit of Dr0 Henry Kissinger only a week before and on this
occasion, I understand, we are visiting China only two weeks before
him. At that time, on behalf of the Australian people, I said that
should I become Prime Minister we would establish diplomatic relations
with China and that I would visit China in my first year of office0
The first promise we fulfilled within three weeks of gaining office.
The second at the ready invitation of Premier Chou En-lai, I am
fulfilling now. Thank you, sir, for your invitation0 For myself
and for those who accompany me, we hope that we may have many opportunities
to return the generosity and hospitality that you and the
Chinese people have offered to us0

I wanted to make this visit in my first year of office as a
demonstration of the significance attached by the Australian people
to developing relations with China, and in the belief that our two
countries should now work in concert for the mutual benefit of the
welfare and security of our two peoples.
In China's approach to relations with other countries, we
find a welcome emphasis on the principles of the equality of states
and respect for the r ights and views of small and middle powers0
At a time when profound changes are taking place in the patterns
of international relations, it is particularly important that the
role of small and medium powers should be understood and appreciated,
and that they should seize the opportunities for greater independence
which the increased fluidity of the world situation presents to them.
In this context, China's support for the principles of respect for the
national sovereignity, independence and territorial integrity of all
states can make a significant contribution to strengthening peace.
These fundamental principles we support and as we work together for
their implementation, our two countries will be drawn into closer
co-operation. We hope and expect that our two countries, in a
relationship of mutual trust, will work increasingly together to
secure respect for these broad principles in the affairs of the region
which touches both our countries.
Australia shares China's desire for a fully effective
solution to the Vietnamese conflict and China's desire that the Paris
Agreements should be fully implemented by all parties concerned0
Similarly, both countries look forward to the early restoration of
peace in Cambodia0 The Governments of both our countries have welcomed
the agreements reached between the parties concerned in Laos and we
share a desire that the correct implementation of these agreements
will ensure peace in Laos.
We are both concerned that the different social systems
of the countries in the region should nut inhibit the flow of ideas
and that greater consultation and dialogue among these countries may
remove the barriers of misunderstanding and lessen the possibility
of international conflict.
As relations between China and Australia develop, the
continuing importance of expanding trade will be balanced by the
development of close contact over a broad range of political issues.
Consultations on international questions of interest to both countries
are adding substance to our relationship0 Exchanges in the scientific,
technological and cultural fields will expand and buttress ties between
the two countries0 Our relationship will not be exclusive but will have
relevance beyond our purely bilateral concerns. For we believe that
there are great benefits for all in putting aside the rigidities and
animosities of the cold war era and grasping the opportunities
inherent in the more open framework of relationships now developing
in the world, to build a structure of cooperation based on mutual
respect and mutual trust. 00o/

In this spirit, ladies and gentlemen, I invite you to join
with me in a toast in honour of Chairman Mao Tsetung, in honour of
acting Chairman of the Republic Tung Pi-wu, in honour of Premier
Chou En-lai in honour of the heads of the Diplomatic Missions and
their wives, in honour of all distinguished guests present, to the
continued happiness and well-being of the Chinese people and to the
friendship between Australia and the People's Republic of China.