Qian in hope for progress at talks
By CHRIS YEUNG
CHINESE Vice-Premier Qian Qichen is confident that next week's talks with British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd on Hong Kong will make progress if London adopts even the slightest degree of co-operation.
Mr Qian and Mr Hurd are due to meet in New York during the United Nations General Assembly in about a month.
He said the two sides also planned a longer session of negotiations, and said they were ''very serious'' about the upcoming talks.
Mr Qian said the improvement of Sino-British relations depended on the British side.
Although China wanted to strive for a smooth transition and continued prosperity for the territory, it all depended on Britain's co-operation, he said.
''It will be contradictory if Britain said it wants to improve [relations] with China on one hand, but on the other it creates trouble over the question of Hong Kong.
''It will not be contradictory if . . . it is able to adopt the lowest degree of co-operative attitude over the Hong Kong question,'' he said.
He was apparently referring to matters related to the economy and livelihood.
Britain had no immediate response to Mr Qian's comments, but the Foreign Office said earlier they wanted to inject new impetus into the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group (JLG) to solve the heavy backlog of transitional matters.
Speedier work at the JLG will be high on Mr Hurd's agenda during his scheduled two-day visit to the territory on September 15.