THE Government may issue a licence to pay-TV bidder Wharf Cable without approval from China, the Secretary for Recreation and Culture, Mr James So Yiu-cho, said yesterday. Although he said it was a matter to be considered nearer the time when the policy branch is in a position to formerly issue the licence, Mr So said he could not rule out the possibility. He added that politics had no part in the awarding of the 12-year franchise, even though China had thrown the process into turmoil by saying it would not honour contracts after 1997 that it had not approved. ''This licence involves a service and politics should not be involved in its handling,'' said Mr So. But he added that he believed Wharf would like the endorsement of China because it would give them ''the confidence to make this huge investment''. Wharf has estimated the project will cost $5 billion. A copy of the draft pay-TV licence was handed to the Chinese representatives of the Joint Liaison Group last month, but so far there has been no reply. Mr So, however, said he was not concerned by the lack of response. ''There is no indication from the Chinese that they have any particular points of concern. I am fairly optimistic we will be able to finalise the consultation process as soon as possible,'' said Mr So. A spokesman for Wharf declined to comment on Mr So's statements, saying the company was not willing to state its position on a hypothetical situation. The spokesman added that negotiations with China and the present political climate were not discussed in Wharf Cable pay-TV meetings, insisting that the team was still working as if it had already been awarded the licence. Mr So repeated his hope that the Government would be able to issue the licence next month. Yesterday, Mrs Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee, a member of the Legislative Council group studying the Television (Amendment) Bill, revealed that the group is to hold an extra meeting on Friday in an effort to ''get the whole thing wrapped up''. The legislation will pave the way for a licence to be issued and Mrs Chow said it was possible all amendments could be finalised by Friday. Commenting on Mr So's statement, Mrs Chow said that theoretically ''the Hongkong Government can issue a licence, regardless of the outcome of discussions with China''. She added: ''But at the end of the day, it is up to Wharf if they want to go ahead with committing themselves to such a huge investment without China's approval. ''I just hope there will a positive outcome in all this so that Wharf can be assured of its position.'' United Democrat Mr Man Sai-cheong, however, said the licence was an ''internal matter for Hongkong, irrespective of 1997''. He added: ''This is a matter between the Government and Wharf - between the granter and the grantee. ''But this is not only a political matter, it is also a commercial judgement and therefore the decision to accept the licence is Wharf's.''