CHINESE Foreign Minister Mr Qian Qichen yesterday played down the prospect of meeting the British Foreign Secretary, Mr Douglas Hurd, saying that conditions for talks were not ripe now. Mr Qian disclosed details of hitherto confidential correspondence with Mr Hurd, saying his British counterpart had expressed his willingness to meet but on condition that substantial progress could be made. ''The conditions for such a meeting are not ripe now, because up till now no talks have started,'' he said at a press conference in Beijing. The British Foreign Office confirmed Mr Hurd remained willing to meet Mr Qian if such a meeting would be useful, but said it was too early to judge when the right moment might be. The Foreign Office's spokesman in Hongkong, Mr Chris Osborne, said there had not yet been any formal contact between Britain and China on the resumption of talks about Hongkong political development. ''Our position remains that we are prepared to have talks as long as there are no pre-conditions attached,'' Mr Osborne said. While chances for resuming talks remain slim, China's attack against Britain continues. The current session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference will pass a political resolution condemning the British Government's support for electoral changes proposed by the Governor, Mr Chris Patten, and the disorder the package has caused. Mr Qian said that in his letter to Mr Hurd dated February 11, he warned that tabling the draft bills to the Legislative Council would bring an obstacle to the talks. He restrained from making any personal attack on Mr Patten, but he alleged there were attempts to change the Joint Declaration. ''Some people say Hongkong has become a political city. There are growing political demands and increasing number of political organisations so that the arrangements for Hongkong need to be changed,'' Mr Qian said. ''Such remarks give an impression that the Joint Declaration in 1984 is outdated, it is no longer enough. They suggest the original agreement between the two governments should be changed, some new contents should be included, leaving new troubles for Hongkong,'' he added. Mr Qian was adamant that China would definitely not make any concessions on such an important matter of principle. When asked to comment on Mr Qian's remarks, Mr Osborne replied that Britain would continue to uphold the Joint Declaration. Mr Qian again ruled out the possibility that the Hongkong Government and the Legislative Council could have a role in any bilateral talks, reiterating that no third party should be allowed to interfere in matters between the two sovereign powers. However, Mr Qian tried to play down China's threat to take economic sanctions against Britain as a result of the political storm. Mr Qian stressed the Chinese Government did not want to see bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries affected. Local legislators yesterday said that they wanted to see the full implementation of the Joint Declaration, not new contents being added to it. United Democrat Mr Cheung Man-kwong said it was not the Joint Declaration which was out-of-date, but the Basic Law and the Chinese interpretation of the mini-constitution itself which could not meet the growing public political aspiration. ''According to the Joint Declaration, the executive organ should be accountable to the legislature and the legislature should be fully elected, I don't think the Basic Law has fully reflected the spirit of the Joint Declaration in these two aspects,'' hesaid. Mr Cheung added it was natural for the public to have more political demands with the emergence of party politics and the opening up of the legislature. Hongkong deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) have sought to play a greater role in Hongkong affairs by calling for the establishment of offices in the territory. Local CPPCC member Mr Tsang Yok-sing, who is the chairman of the pro-China Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hongkong, even proposed the State Council's Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office to set up a special office in Shenzhen to strengthen links in the territory. The latest call from the Hongkong deputies to the NPC and CPPCC was motivated by Beijing's claim that early preparation work should start to ensure smooth transition. It is understood that Beijing has shown reservations to their plan because of political sensitivity about the threat of a ''second power centre'' in Hongkong. In his proposal, which was put forward in a written speech submitted to the CPPCC, Mr Tsang suggested Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office officials could hold frequent meetings with Hongkong visitors at the Shenzhen office so that communication between Beijing and Hongkong could be strengthened.