Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and his Foreign Minister Andrew Peacock their week-long visit to China on Sunday (27 June).
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and his Foreign Minister Andrew Peacock their week-long visit to China on Sunday (27 June). Newsmen travelling with the prime minister said the visit had been a great success with the Chinese people. As a gesture of their esteem the Chinese government invited Mr. Fraser and his party to view the People's Liberation Army in action - a privilege afforded to few foreign visitors.
SYNOPSIS: The action Mr. Fraser saw was provided by the Thrid Guards Division of the Peking army garrison near Peking. The division has a long and distinguished war record, including action in the Korean war during the 1950's. But on this occasion the guards weren't armed with fixed bayonets and rifles but flowers and the flags of Australia and China as they welcomed the Australian leader."Welcome, warm welcome", they chanted as Mr. Fraser accompanied by their officers inspected the inside of the barracks and training grounds. The garrison's deputy commander, Chiu-Wei-Kao, showed Mr. Fraser around and took the opportunity of showing him a pictorial record of the garrison's fighting history before Mr. Fraser was driven to a firing range to see a demonstration of fire power.
At the firing range the action really started. The tough, battle-trained Chinese soldiers gave the Prime Minister an impressive display of their fire power.
People's Liberation Army infantrymen, using a variety of hand held weapons, knocked over their targets with devastating accuracy. Mortars and grenades landed right on target and mine fields detonated on time. Screaming "kill, kill, kill" the men clashed in unarmed combat, while special anti-tank units showed their skill at knocking out tanks.
The military hardware didn't appear to be new or revolutionary but the soldiers seemed deadly serious as they went about their tasks. China in fact is very serious about self defence. It says it has no expanisionist aims and merely wants to protect itself from possible attack. In all Mr. Fraser saw 20 demonstrations of battle practice and said afterwards that he was most impressed.