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Consul General Hu Shan Pays Courtesy Call to Gough Whitlam

2008-12-05

 

On Friday, 5 December 2008, Chinese Consul-General HU Shan paid a courtesy call to Mr. Gough Whitlam, Australia's former Prime Minister who initiated Australia's diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China.

Mr. Hu was very happy to know the 92-year-old was still in sound shape. He briefed Mr. Whitlam about the current bilateral relationship between China and Australia, and paid a high tribute to Mr. Whitlam's strategic decision to normalize the Australia-China relations during his term as prime minister of Australia.

"Your Excellency has been an old friend of China, the Chinese Government and people will always remember Your Excellency's outstanding contribution to the development of China-Australia relations." Mr. Hu said.

Mr. Whitlam appreciated very much Mr. Hu's courtesy visit to him, and said he was sorry for being not able to attend Mr. Hu's position-assumption reception because of reduced mobility but would like to have a copy of Mr. Hu's speech thereof.

He happily recalled the decision-making process of this strategic China policy as Australian Prime Minister in 1972. "I'm proud of the right decision I made only two weeks after I was sworn in as Prime Minister, despite all the difficulties." Mr. Whitlam remarked.

Mr. Whitlam was also very excited to go into details when talking about his meeting with then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai during his first visit to China. He described Mr. Zhou as a man of massive charisma.

About the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Mr. Whitlam appreciated very much the invitation by Chinese Government, but was sorry for being not able to attend the opening ceremony. He warmly congratulated Chinese people on the successful Games.

On behalf of the Chinese Consulate-General, Mr. Hu presented to Mr. Whitlam a Chinese craftwork as a souvenir.

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