Did he jump or was he pushed? I'll tell all later, he says Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa broke his silence yesterday on reports he is c early - but still didn't give much away. 'I know that you are concerned about many questions. I will give an account at an appropriate time,' was all he said. Sources said an announcement on Mr Tung's political future would be made 'in a matter of days'. Speaking to reporters on his arrival in Beijing to attend the Chinese People's Consultative Conference (CPPCC) meeting that starts today, Mr Tung stopped short of denying reports that he has resigned. He would only say the central authorities had discussed with him his appointment to the top advisory body, a move that he was 'very pleased with'. Mr Tung was appointed a CPPCC member and is set to become a vice-chairman, which makes him a state leader. Tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun last night pre-empted the result of the vice-chairman election, which will be held on March 12. 'I wanted to congratulate Mr Tung on being elevated to a leader,' he said. 'This is the most clever move. You will know later that this arrangement will bring at least four or five benefits to Hong Kong. I am saying no more.' Despite the lack of official confirmation, Mr Tung's early departure was widely reported yesterday, and it now appears to be a matter of when and how the announcement will be made. Henry Fok Ying-tung, another vice-chairman to the CPPCC, would not comment on the reports, saying: 'These are things you should better ask Mr Tung. It's his decision.' Mr Fok said Mr Tung had witnessed the implementation of the 'one country, two systems' and had worked hard for the past seven years ungrudgingly. Mr Tung would find it easier to communicate with the central government following his appointment as CPPCC vice-chairman, Mr Fok added. That Mr Tung will make an early exit is almost certain, but sources were yesterday putting forward different versions of why he has decided to call it a day. Sources close to Mr Tung said it was the chief executive's own decision to resign, not a move forced by Beijing. 'He wasn't keen to take on the second term,' a source said. 'But there was not much choice at the time. He has been toying with the idea of leaving. There were discussions about it. But they needed to discuss a suitable timing.' The sources said Mr Tung now felt the timing was right to proceed with his resignation as the economy, social atmosphere and budget deficits continue to improve. But others believe the chief executive was forced to resign. 'I suspect that even Mr Tung was not aware until very late that he would be appointed to the CPPCC,' another source said yesterday. It was Beijing's intention to have a new face at the helm, but the central government leadership needed to choose a good time to do that, the source added. 'The central government does not want to be seen as doing it at a time when the people most wanted it. This would be seen as a victory of people's power,' the source said. Officials in Beijing were tightlipped yesterday about Tung's future. CPPCC spokesman Wu Jianmin would not confirm Mr Tung's election to vice-chairman, saying only the job of CPPCC leader was not a retirement post, as many saw it. 'The work of the CPPCC is quite heavy. From various reports we can see that CPPCC leaders are playing an important role in China's political life,' Mr Wu said when asked why Mr Tung was to be given a vice-chairman post, which was normally reserved for retired officials. 'We can hardly say it is a job after retirement because they are working full time.' Daniel Fung Wah-kin, a Hong Kong delegate to the CPPCC and former solicitor-general, said the reluctance of the Chief Executive's Office to deny the speculation was an indication that the central government was pondering several options, including letting the chief executive fade out of the political picture or step down. 'I believe that Beijing has not yet made the final decision,' he said. National People's Congress deputy Ng Hon-mun said Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen would enjoy advantages over other contenders if he acted in the post of chief executive for six months following Mr Tung's departure. An attempt in Legco yesterday by the Democrats to hold a debate on Mr Tung's possible departure was rejected by President Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, who said the reports were groundless speculation. China News Service last night carried a report on a Reuters interview with Foreign Ministry Commissioner in Hong Kong Yang Wenchang in which he praised Mr Tung's contribution to Hong Kong and said the central government appreciated his work, but the report was later withdrawn.