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  China mourns death of former Australian PM  

  

 

China on Tuesday expressed condolences on the death of former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, who established diplomatic ties with China in the 1970s.

  BEIJING, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday expressed condolences on the death of former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, who established diplomatic ties with China in the 1970s.

  "Whitlam was an outstanding statesman and an old friend of China," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing.

  "He made great contributions to China-Australia ties. We express our condolences and sympathy to his family," Hua said.

  Whitlam passed away on Tuesday at the age of 98. He led Australia through a period of massive social changes from 1972 to 1975.

  In 1973, Whitlam became the first Australian prime minister to visit China, setting up Australia's trade agreement with the country.

 

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