French still in the running

GUANGDONG Governor Mr Zhu Senlin said yesterday some of the Guangzhou Metro contracts might be given to French companies despite the French Government's decision to sell Mirage fighter jets to Taiwan.

Speaking after a meeting with a group of Hongkong businessmen led by Mr Henry Fok Ying-tung, Mr Zhu said Guangzhou had originally planned to co-operate with France on the construction of its Metro project, but the plan was jeopardised by the aircraft sale.

Mr Zhu revealed that French companies would have been given preferential treatment because Guangzhou enjoyed friendly relations with French city Lyons.

And French companies had taken part in the design of the Metro system, according to Mr Zhu.

But after the decision to sell the Mirage fighters, relations had soured. In addition, the conditions provided by French companies bidding for the Metro contracts were not as competitive as others.

''Thus not all contracts would be awarded to the French companies. They might be given some of the contracts instead,'' Mr Zhu said.

Meanwhile, Mr Zhu hinted that the proposal to build Guangdong's second nuclear power station in Daya Bay was still under consideration.

Guangdong officials earlier said the second nuclear power plant would be built in Yangjiang City, near Guangzhou. The Daya Bay option was believed to have been dropped.

But Mr Zhu yesterday said the Daya Bay site for the second nuclear power plant was more suitable than Yangjiang City. He said Daya Bay was the site of the first nuclear power plant in Guangdong and possessed the necessary infrastructure and facilities for the second plant.

Mr Zhou appeared to have reservations over Zhuhai's proposal to build a bridge connecting Hongkong and the special economic zone which borders Macau.