SENIOR Chinese official Lu Ping said yesterday he would not meet Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang during his visit to the territory next week because he was too busy. Mr Lu was speaking for the first time about an invitation by Governor Chris Patten for a meeting between the Governor, or Mrs Chan and her top aides, and Mr Lu during the trip. Mr Lu said: 'Mrs Chan has invited me to a gathering. The present problem is that we cannot fix a common time. I believe Mrs Chan and I will have time to meet . . in the future. There are many other opportunities.' But Mrs Chan will be in the territory next week and has said she is ready to change her diary to fit in with Mr Lu's plans. The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Director is expected to arrive on Monday for a six-day visit. According to a report by the China News Service last night, Mr Lu said he was 'very keen' to meet senior Government officials. He did not specifically rule out a meeting with Mrs Chan. Government spokesman Kerry McGlynn said officials were awaiting a formal reply from Mr Lu. He said: 'We still think that there's time and opportunity if Mr Lu really wants it. I don't see any reason why we cannot arrange a mutually convenient time . . .' Mr Lu said he would attend meetings of the Preliminary Working Committee's political and economic sub-groups. He would explain the Chinese position on the Court of Final Appeal, right of abode and civil service during his keynote speech on Thursday, he said. Mr Patten, who turned 51 yesterday, said Hong Kong was probably disappointed that his birthday hope last year for a meeting with Mr Lu had not come true. He said a meeting between himself and Mr Lu was an obligation under the 1991 Memorandum of Understanding on the new airport, adding 'there is a moral obligation on us to try to work together'. 'You look around the world and everywhere else you see people trying to sort out much bigger problems than we have here in Hong Kong. Problems that have often led to bloodshed and disaster. They try to sit down at the table even if they have disagreements and sort things out together. 'We should be doing that more positively and more constructively here in Hong Kong. So we've held out our hand and I hope that one day it will be taken by Chinese officials . . . '