CHINA'S top Hong Kong affairs official has given the mainland's first concrete backing for a controversial bridge planned to link Zhuhai with the territory. Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Director Lu Ping revealed the Chinese position at a meeting with local groups in Macau on the third day of his visit to the enclave. Beijing previously maintained that it had still to approve the plan unveiled by the Zhuhai authorities last year. A panel under the Sino-Hong Kong Infrastructure Co-ordinating Committee, which met last month, has been discussing where the bridge would land - a worry for people in the northwest, particularly in Tuen Mun, who could face worse traffic problems. Mr Lu said: 'We are at the moment discussing it with the British side through proper channels, and we will endeavour that the bridge be completed as soon as possible.' He was confident Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai would benefit. 'We support the construction of that bridge,' he added. Meanwhile, Mr Lu has expressed concern about the investment environment in Hong Kong. High operational costs caused by a surge in wages and property prices had discouraged many foreign multinationals from opening offices, he said.