Pictures of Chief Executive-designate Tung Chee-hwa and Hong Kong's current Chief Secretary and future Administrative Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang chatting with Lu Ping, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, are a reassuring sight. Far from placing Mrs Chan in a position of divided loyalties, her trip to meet mainland officials with her future boss is an excellent augury for the days ahead. She has served the current administration well, and there is no doubt she will give the same loyalty and commitment to the new regime. Mrs Chan and Mr Tung already know each other well, and there is no question that both share the same aim: to do their best for the people of Hong Kong. Mrs Chan has handled her extremely sensitive position since being chosen to serve the Special Administrative Region government with considerable skill. When her appointment was announced, it gave a tremendous boost to local confidence. But there were also no disguising concerns that her service to the present administration might hamper her full acceptance by China. Now she has travelled with Mr Tung to meet Chinese leaders, their support seems assured. The high-profile meeting shows political maturity by Beijing, and it will pay dividends among the public in Hong Kong who place a great deal of trust in her ability to steer the civil service through the transition. Mrs Chan's unrivalled experience will be of great assistance to Mr Tung when he assumes his role in July. She is one of the few passengers who have made the journey that the through-train should have taken, and though the two are unlikely to see eye to eye on every issue, it is important that she is able to express her views frankly when she feels it right to do so. The free exchange of opinions in an open and democratic administration, where there is mutual respect for differing views, is one of the strengths of any government. Mr Tung has shown a readiness to listen to others' views, and he has an obvious personal inclination of tolerance towards public dissent, as his meetings with the Democrats show. If Mr Tung's cabinet can function in the same relaxed manner, speaking out freely on the understanding that everything said is for the best of the community, the sense of unity will grow. Today's pictures suggest it is already beginning.