In his seventh policy address, the chief executive announces the setting up of a body to study Hong Kong's political development, drawing an unprecedented response from the central government The chief executive has agreed to consult the central government on Hong Kong's political reform before launching a promised review of constitutional development. In his seventh policy address, Tung Chee-hwa failed to give a firm timetable for the review but appointed Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to head a taskforce to find out Beijing's concerns and the way forward. In a speech that took just over an hour to deliver, Mr Tung referred to his duty visit to Beijing last month, during which President Hu Jintao expressed Beijing's high level of concern about the development of Hong Kong's political structure. Minutes after he completed his address, Xinhua took the unprecedented step of issuing a statement saying Hong Kong must consult the central government on the issue. Pro-democracy legislators condemned Mr Tung's decision to consult Beijing, saying the government was inviting interference and giving up the autonomy promised under 'one country, two systems'. Asked at a media briefing after the address whether the public's views on democracy were only a secondary concern, Mr Tung said: 'The views of the central government are definitely very important. 'One country, two systems' is not simply about two systems, but one country. [It's about] two systems in one country.' He said he was aware of people's democratic aspirations in the wake of the July 1 and New Year's Day marches but offered no further promise on the way forward. The Xinhua release quoted a Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office spokesman as hailing Mr Tung's new measures for developing the economy and improving administration as 'active, enterprising, reliable and feasible'. Confirming Beijing's request for consultation, the spokesman reiterated Beijing's stance that 'Hong Kong should promote democracy step by step in line with the Basic Law on the basis of maintaining prosperity and stability'. Mr Tsang said early talks with Beijing would avoid Beijing and Hong Kong reaching different understandings on the relevant provisions of the Basic Law. 'Such a scenario could cause serious confrontation between the community and the central authorities. Obviously we do not want to precipitate such a situation,' he said. The taskforce, comprising Mr Tsang, Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie and Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung, will travel to Beijing to hold talks with the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, the general office of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress Standing Committee and the legislative affairs office of the State Council. Mr Tsang warned that the constitutional review, if not done properly, would affect stability. 'Many countries or regions have experienced turmoil in their search for democracy. We have to ensure that the constitutional review proceeds smoothly and does nothing to shake our hard-earned confidence,' he said. Asked if he could guarantee he would not betray Hong Kong's interests during the negotiations, Mr Tsang vowed to work according to his conscience and the Basic Law. Shi Yinhong, professor of international studies at People's University in Beijing, said the central government might allow the city's political system to evolve faster than it planned before the July 1 march. 'If universal suffrage is introduced for electing the chief executive in a rash manner, it would end up with the election of a politician who adopts an antagonistic attitude towards the central government.' Allen Lee Peng-fei, a local deputy to the National People's Congress, said: 'Beijing is well aware of the fact that Mr Tung is not capable of handling the matter properly.'