For its finale, the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group, whose negotiators were likened to an orchestra by Chinese team leader Wu Hongbo yesterday, played itself out on a mixed note. For Mr Wu, the band played on for 14 years with a symphony to a smooth handover - regardless of what happened along the way. His British counterpart Alan Paul was more cautious. It was too early to judge, he said. Formed in 1985 to oversee the transition, the JLG will become history after a farewell ceremony to be held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre on December 21. Rounding up the two-day finale, both sides hailed the contributions the JLG had made. Mr Wu said the two sides had worked for the best common interests of Hong Kong, despite different values and ways of doing things. Playing down the discord, Mr Wu said: 'A British conductor had said there are two golden rules for an orchestra. It has to start and end together. Who gives a damn what goes on in between? 'What music we are playing is not a tango, it's neither jazz nor pop, but a symphony to implement the Joint Declaration,' Mr Wu said after the three-hour talks. He stressed the JLG's role had changed since the handover from a forum for negotiation to a channel to exchange views. Mr Paul said the British side raised a list of developments causing concern. These included the deportation of a suspected member of Big Spender's gang from Bangkok to a Guangzhou jail, the Court of Final Appeal's ruling on right of abode early this month, and the National People's Congress' reinterpretation of the Basic Law. 'Our concern is that these developments are beginning to cast doubt in some quarters on precisely those principles and values which Britain and China agreed in the Joint Declaration to uphold. 'So it is too soon to make a definitive judgment about whether the achievements of the JLG are secure and durable,' Mr Paul said. But the British diplomat said later that the legal system was still in a good shape. Stressing he remained optimistic about Hong Kong's future, Mr Paul pledged Britain would speak out if anything stated in the Joint Declaration had gone wrong. 'The JLG will finish on January 1 in accordance with the Joint Declaration. But our political and moral commitment to the people of Hong Kong, as co-signatory of the Joint Declaration, will be undiminished,' Mr Paul said. 'If we believe that Joint Declaration values and principles are under threat in Hong Kong, we will speak out,' he added.