Outgoing Port Development Board secretary Tony Clark has defended the Government's decision to proceed with the gazetting of Container Terminals 10 to 13 on Lantau Island. He was responding to the Chinese representative on the Joint Liaison Group (JLG), Chen Zuo'er, who recently warned that the terminal plans might be rejected by the post-1997 government and that the move would not be in the interests of the territory. Mr Clark, who retires tomorrow after serving the Government on port and shipping policies for 11 years, said: 'The implication from Mr Chen was in fact that we decided to build them without telling anybody and that this was somehow an underhand deal. 'I find it rather strange as it is part of the planning process of which we briefed the Chinese side 18 months ago.' There had been a mainland diplomatic presence in the territory for a long time, and they knew the system, he said. Mr Clark said the planning process involved working out what was needed, advising the public and gazetting it in the Government Gazette for public comments. 'So it is purely a piece of Government planning.' He said Hong Kong had a good strategic planning system with good legal backing. Despite that, the Government could not build whatever it liked, where it liked or when it liked, he said. The proposals had to be put down on the town plan so that the land reservation was marked out with the endorsement of the Governor-in-Council, Mr Clark said. 'It does not involve you building anything and it doesn't commit you to building anything,' he said. What it did was to put the terminal developments in a land reservation sphere, he said. 'So we know where future container berths will go when there is an acute need for them,' he said. 'It doesn't mean that we are going to build them now, next year or any other year.' Richard Yuen Ming-fai will take over Mr Clark's post as board secretary from Monday.