CHINA and Britain yesterday announced that talks on arrangements for Hongkong's 1994/95 elections would resume next week, a sudden turn of events that suggests both sides had chosen to bend a little to end the stalemate. After months of bitter political bickering, Beijing and London said representatives would meet in Beijing from next Thursday, the day after draft legislation for controversial changes proposed by the Governor, Mr Chris Patten, was expected to be tabled in the Legislative Council. The terms of the announcement, however, stipulated that the talks would centre on the arrangements for the elections ''in accordance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the principle of convergence with the Basic Law and the relevant agreements and understandings'' between the two countries. Mr Patten described the breakthrough as a ''victory for common sense''. Asked what had won over the Chinese side, Mr Patten would only say that it was the eloquence of ''my friend'' the Ambassador to China, Sir Robin McLaren, and the Foreign Secretary, Mr Douglas Hurd. The announcement was made simultaneously at 7 pm Hongkong time in London by the Foreign Office, just as Mr Patten and the Minister with special responsibility for Hongkong, Mr Alastair Goodlad, were standing in the street outside; in Beijing on the main evening television and radio news bulletins; and in Hongkong by releases from the Government Information Services and the New China News Agency. Hongkong Executive Councillors were individually informed by the Deputy to the Governor, Sir David Ford, in the afternoon. It had already been anticipated by investors on the Hongkong stock market. The months of deadlock over the reform plan, during which China threatened British trade interests and launched vitriolic attacks against Mr Patten, have sent Hongkong's volatile stock market on a roller coaster ride. Yesterday, the blue-chip Hang Seng index jumped 2.11 per cent, or 132.54 points, to 6,418.21 on rumours that talks might finally take place. Hongkong stocks traded in London continued the climb, closing between three and five per cent higher suggesting that the Hang Seng Index will test the record of 6,508 today. Although Chinese and British officials were tight-lipped on how the breakthrough was achieved, it is understood to have been triggered by a meeting between Mr Goodlad and China's Ambassador to Britain, Mr Ma Yuzhen, on March 30. It is understood Mr Goodlad took the initiative in approaching Mr Ma to tell him that despite the gazetting of the electoral bill and other related developments, the British side was still willing to have talks. The diplomatic exchanges were then picked up in Beijing with Sir Robin and his Chinese counterparts keeping in close contact to try to sort out the problems barring the resumption of talks. It is understood that the Prime Minister, Mr John Major, was consulted on the final wording. The final negotiations on the date for the talks and the wording of the announcement were worked out just before Easter, with the involvement of Mr Patten and Sir Robin, who is also in London. China finally offered a positive response to the British request last Saturday, leading to yesterday's announcement, which was welcomed by conservative and liberal legislators and pro-China Hongkong advisers, who only a fortnight ago strongly urged Beijing leaders to help resolve the impasse. Legislators, however, were divided on whether the Government should proceed in presenting draft legislation on electoral changes to the Legislative Council, given that Mr Patten's decision to gazette it had caused a fresh round of invective from the Chinese side. Sources said the Government still aimed to have the legislation for the 1994/95 elections in place before the end of the current Legco session in July, to enable the elections to take place as scheduled. It is understood that the talks will last a few days. ''We are starting these talks hoping that they will be successful and if they proceed at a good pace and we can see they are making progress, that is going to affect the timing of the legislation,'' said Mr Patten. The statements issued by the two governments did not refer to the status of Hongkong officials in the British negotiating team, which had been the main stumbling block to an agreement to resume talks last month. The statement said Britain's representative will be Sir Robin, and China's will be Mr Jiang Enzhu, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs. Another statement issued in Hongkong after journalists asked who else would take part was careful to say that Sir Robin would be ''supported'' by Mr Michael Sze Cho-cheung, the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr William Ehrman, the Political Adviser, Mr Peter Ricketts, head of the Hongkong Department of the Foreign Office, and Mr Peter Lai Hing-ling, the Deputy Secretary for Constitutional Affairs. Apart from the official announcement, there was no further word from the Chinese side last night. Although both sides insisted they stood by their original position, the announcement pointed to both sides having made some concessions, even though they might be considered small. A British embassy official said: ''I do not think it is constructive to say this side backed down on this or that side compromised on that.'' Sir David Ford also said he did not think there was ''any question of climb down on either side''. ''What's been agreed are arrangements which are suitable for both sides, the Hongkong officials are participating in the same way as they participated in previous talks,'' he said. But he refrained from describing the Hongkong representatives as ''full members'', saying that local officials in the supporting team would have access to all information during the meeting, as well as the right to express opinions. ''Of course, they will be able to speak and they will be able to participate as any member of a team,'' he said. The Governor and Sir Robin are expected to remain in London for the rest of this week to further discuss strategy for the talks with senior Foreign Office officials, according to a British embassy official. During the talks, the British embassy will be in constant contact with London and will be consulting with officials at a very high level, ''up to and including the Prime Minister'', he said. One of the key points made by the Chinese side in the earlier negotiations was that after the first round of talks, future meetings would have to be held in secrecy. Without agreeing to such terms, the British side is understood to have agreed to discuss this issue during that first round of talks. Sir Robin was due to return with the Governor this weekend. The team will also meet Executive Council members before travelling to Beijing. Asked if there was a deadline for an agreement, Sir David said: ''It's not our intention to introduce the bill into the Legislative Council whilst there is the prospect of reaching agreement on these talks.''