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Chinese long-range rocket test

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The Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr MacKellar, confirmed today that the Chinese Vice-Premier, Mr Li Xiannian, had given Australia advance notice of China's intention to conduct soon a test of a long-range rocket into the Pacific.

It is understood that the test will be an extension of China's existing programme of rocket testing. The test-fired rocket will not be equipped with any form of trial warhead, conventional or nuclear.

The Australian Government appreciates the action of the Chinese authorities in informing Australia in advance of its intentions, and understands that the Chinese Government is similarly informing other countries in the Pacific.

The proposed test reflects the high degree of tension and insecurity prevailing in the world, which has been heightened by recent events. That the Chinese Government sees the need to conduct such a test at this time only serves to emphasize the

importance of making real progress towards nuclear disarmament by all the major powers.

Australia has a very close interest in the South West Pacific, and wants that region to be one of peace and harmony, free from tensions.