Warning issued over JLG failure
FAILURE to resolve the outstanding issues on the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group (JLG) agenda would create uncertainty and confusion about the transition, Mr Patten warned.
It would also bring into doubt the continuation of Hong Kong's vital legal and commercial relations with the rest of the world.
The warning came following the JLG's failure to produce results since its resumption in June after a six-month suspension triggered by the disclosure of Mr Patten's political package.
The Governor said Britain and China had agreed in the Joint Declaration they would intensify co-operation in the JLG in the second half of the transition period.
''We are now well into the second half. Yet the expected acceleration of the work of the JLG has failed to materialise. Instead, it seems that its work has almost come to a halt.'' But, a vice-director of the local Xinhua (the New China News Agency), Zhang Junsheng, said China should not be held responsible for the fruitless JLG meetings.
The Governor said there was no specific British interest to be served by resolving outstanding issues on the JLG agenda, other than governing Hong Kong as competently as possible.
Instead, settling these matters would be of direct benefit to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and China.
''It is essential that we inject a new sense of urgency into the JLG,'' he said.
Mr Patten said the issues were not generally political, but technical or practical matters which had a direct bearing on people's lives.
The Government would introduce to the Legislative Council many bills over the next three years to localise legislation so it was in line with the Basic Law.
''If progress in the JLG does not speed up significantly, there is a high risk that the work will not be finished before 1997, and we will then face a legal vacuum,'' he said.