It is a great honour, as well as a pleasure, for me to be asked to open this meeting today, designed to set on foot an organization for fostering friendship and mutual understanding between the British and the Chinese peoples, on a far broader basis than hitherto. The stature and magnitude o f Chinese culture, the way o f life o f nearly a quarter o f the whole human race, is today, as The Times has recently said, a dominant fact o f international relationships which has to be reckoned with. China is no longer something quaint, something archaic, unimportant and irrelevant. The event reported in this morning’s papers [the second Chinese nuclear test] is witness o f this. Largely by their own efforts the Chinese are raising their standard o f life to a proper level. They have thrown off the inhibitions o f their traditional social forms, and are taking a place on the modem world stage which will be second to none. An immense reservoir o f talent has been released; it will make an enormous contribution to world civilization. China can no longer be for us some ‘little country far away about which we know nothing’ , for in these days o f air communications China is only about a dozen hours’ flying time away. Neighbours need to be good friends. The smaller our world becomes, the greater is the urgency o f mutual understanding o f the peoples and their cultures.