§ 2. Mr. MacFarquhar
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next proposes to meet the Chinese Foreign Minister.
§ The Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Evan Luard)
The Chinese Foreign Minister 404 has been invited to visit the United Kingdom. No date has yet been fixed.
§ Mr. MacFarquhar
When my hon. Friend sees the Chinese Foreign Minister, will he express his satisfaction that this country has been able to help the Chinese People's Republic during the last five years by training about 400 students in various subjects? Will he also express his keen disappointment at the fact that it is not yet possible for senior British sinologists to spend prolonged periods in China and that they are not allowed access to Chinese libraries while they are there?
§ Mr. Luard
I think that my hon. Friend has a vested interest in this subject. I hope that I shall have a chance to speak to the Chinese Foreign Minister on this and other subjects. My hon. Friend is correct in saying that in the last five years 391 Chinese student-years have been spent in this country and 58 British student-years have been spent in China. I agree that there is equal value in exchanges in both directions. I agree with my hon. Friend that we should like to see more British people studying in China. We believe that China has a great deal to offer that is of value to foreign scholars and we shall continue to pursue the subject.
§ Mr. Forman
When the Chinese Foreign Minister comes here, as well as discussing cultural links between this country and the Chinese People's Republic, will the Minister and his colleagues also be discussing ways of increasing our trade with China, particularly our technical co-operation in the sphere of offshore oil and gas development?
§ Mr. Luard
We are certainly concerned about improving our trade with China. For the first time in many years we had a deficit in our trade with China over the past year, and we want to remedy that. I agree that the area that the hon. Gentleman mentioned would be useful for increasing our exports to China.
§ Mr. Hooley
If my hon. Friend meets the Chinese Foreign Minister, will he discuss with him the anachronistic situation of Hong Kong and the possibility of 405 resolving that absurd situation in a civilised way over the next two or three years?