CHINA'S top spokesman on Hongkong affairs, Mr Lu Ping, claimed yesterday that differences between Beijing and London on the resumption of talks had virtually been resolved on the eve of tomorrow's gazetting of bills on the 1994/95 electoral arrangements. But, as Britain had claimed last week, the main stumbling block to ''talks on talks'' remained the status of Hongkong officials in any discussions. While Britain had demanded a full role for Hongkong Government officials, Beijing was only prepared for them to attend as experts or advisers. Mr Lu, the director of the State Council's Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office, said: ''This question has never been resolved in the entire process of the consultation. As far as the Chinese Government is concerned, we are not saying that we want to exclude members of the Hongkong Government from participation in the talks. It is not our intention.'' Mr Lu said China has proposed that both sides send one or two representatives to any talks because they would be ''diplomatic talks between two sovereign governments''. ''Last year, during his meeting with Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji, Prime Minister John Major took the initiative to say that the British side would like to send a special envoy to Beijing to have talks with us with a view to solve the problems,'' Mr Lu explained. ''We accepted his proposal. So in our reply we said that the British side could [either] send a special envoy to Beijing to have talks, or appoint the British Ambassador to China as the government representative of Britain. ''The Chinese side would like to send two representatives, one representative from the Foreign Ministry and a deputy representative from the Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council. ''On March 11 in view of the fact that the stalemate on this issue had not broken, we suggested that we could consider the idea of appointing only one representative and not two, and all the participants of talks could only be advisers or experts to assist the representatives in the talks. ''This means that all people from the Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office will participate in the talks as advisers or experts and the British side should also follow the same method. ''The reaction from the British side was that this was a new step the Chinese side was going to take and the British side agreed that it had to report our proposal immediately back to the British Government. ''On the morning of March 12, we received the formal reply that the British side would not agree to the method we proposed.'' Mr Lu said Beijing had suggested that talks could be held this month provided that other issues could be solved, adding that the exact date could be finalised through consultation. ''The British side believed that it was a good proposal. So before March 12, the Chinese side was optimistic about the start of the talks,'' he added. ''We believed that there were fewer differences between the two sides in the course of consultation and the British side also agreed to appoint one representative which would be the British ambassador to China. ''However, while agreeing to this point, the British side insisted that there would be a team or delegation and the other people participating in the talks should be members of the team. ''Well, this is illogical because if it's going to be talks between the representatives of the two governments, there should not be any delegations or teams, so how would it be possible to have a delegation. There is no diplomatic precedence in this regard.'' ''So at that time we believed this problem could be resolved. ''Unfortunately at 10.30 on the morning of March 12, the British side contacted us saying that the other members must participate as members of the British team. ''Moreover, the British side said that this decision was irrevocable.''