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People's Republic of China

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PM_No. 52/1971


Statement by the Prim e M inister, Mr. William McMahon

The A ustralian Government has noted the rapid succession of events which suggest a m arked development in the willingness of the People’s Republic of China to deal with the re s t of the world. .

We have already stated that it is our long te rm objective to norm alise our b ilateral relations with the Government of the People’s Republic of China and we have fu rth er decided that we will now explore the possibilities of establishing a dialogue with the Government of the People’s Republic. .

We must b ear in mind that a m ajor obstacle to the development of form al relations with the People’s Republic of China has been that Governm ent's support for insurgency and subversion in countries of the region with which we as an A ustralian Government have close relations and mutual! strateg ic in terests.

F o r those reasons we will proceed with caution and we.. vzill want to ensure that when any steps a r e taken th ere will be some response of a reasonable kind from Peking.

Whatever we do will be without prejudice to the rights of the Republic of China on Taiwan.

Subject to security requirem ents there a re , of course, no restric tio n s on the rights of A ustralians to visit the People’s Republic of China.

CANBERRA 11 May 1971