The Japanese government denied the existence of the unit until 1998, when the Supreme Court indirectly acknowledged it by ruling there was an academic consensus that Unit 731 existed.
It was also a time when the United States and Australia were preparing to send their troops to join the Vietnam War. "There were demonstrations in Beijing and we joined in. I was against the war anyway."
"My mother was not interested in Asia but she believed that Asia, and in particular, China, would be important for Australia's future. She had great foresight."
He said that the Taiwan question is related to the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation, and he called on businesspeople from Taiwan to push for the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.
Looking back at that day in Parliament, the mild-mannered academic said: "I felt deeply honored by his reference to me … deeply honored."
An escalation of trade tensions represents a growing downside risk to our baseline global forecast as the US administration looks determined to reduce the US trade deficit and curb China's strategic ambitions stated in its "Made in China 2025" plan. With the US international trade data showing a rising trade deficit in February－the widest since 2008－and a cumulative deficit vis-à-vis China on the rise－the deficit was $65.2 billion year-to-date, up almost $11 billion than the same period in 2017－we (at Oxford Economics) fear trade tensions will escalate further in the coming weeks.
While Mackerras said he is not optimistic about the bilateral relationship in the short term, "I have to be optimistic" in the long term.
"I'm not against criticism if it is valid, but I am totally against criticism that is manufactured."