CHINA has vowed to strive to maintain the economic dynamism of Hong Kong if it fails to strike a deal with Britain over the 1994/95 electoral arrangements. The strong assurance was given by the top Chinese official in charge of Hong Kong affairs, Lu Ping. There has been no sign of a climbdown by Britain or China, whose negotiators open a crucial 15th round of talks this morning. The two days of talks are expected to have significant bearing on the meeting between Governor Chris Patten and the British cabinet in London next week. Mr Lu said: ''If they [Britain] do not co-operate and there is no agreement, China will take all possible measures to ensure the smooth transition of Hong Kong, not only politically, but more importantly, on the economic front. ''Other problems can be solved more easily if [we maintain] a stable economy,'' he said when meeting a delegation from the pro-China newspaper Wen Wei Po in Beijing on Monday. Senior Chinese officials have said co-operation between China and Britain over Hong Kong's economy would inevitably be undermined if the political talks stalled. But Mr Lu, Director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said: ''From our point of view, the political talks are of course important. But the economy of Hong Kong is equally significant. ''Our position is always that the political and economic issues should be separated. We said that publicly. We hold the same view in our internal studies. ''But it is hard to separate the two in a practical situation. If the talks collapsed, who can say Hong Kong would not be affected and the confidence of investors undermined?'' He maintained that China would try to minimise the adverse effects and create a strong foundation for the Special Administrative Region. Reaffirming China's wish for an agreement, Mr Lu said an accord ultimately depended on Britain. ''But the agreement reached must be a good agreement and beneficial to the smooth transition of Hong Kong. Otherwise, [we] would rather not have an agreement,'' he said. Mr Lu criticised demands made by Mr Patten that China should agree to the three less controversial issues - the voting age, voting method and elected seats on district boards and municipal councils - in order to aid progress in the talks. ''If [Britain] wants agreement, they should not create obstacles. This is not a responsible attitude,'' Mr Lu said. Mainland officials said last night they did not hold out hope for any dramatic progress when the talks resumed today. One official said: ''If talks were to break down, we would not be optimistic about the economy of Hong Kong. It would severely affect the mutual trust and atmosphere of co-operation.'' He also said it was difficult to say if the talks would be the last, considering Mr Patten's planned high-level London meeting. Speaking before leaving for the talks, a senior Hong Kong official said Britain would again seek objective criteria for Legislative Councillors elected in 1995 to be eligible for the post-1997 legislature. But Beijing has already rejected that move, insisting it will only discuss the issue after the arrangements for the 1994/95 elections are agreed. Hong Kong's Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Michael Sze Cho-cheung, said officials were disappointed the through-train issue was still not on the talks' agenda. Agreement on the through-train was one of the major objectives of the talks, he said. But the British side would not sacrifice its principles in exchange for such an agreement. ''We won't back down from trying to get an agreement which is fair, open and acceptable to Hong Kong people,'' Mr Sze said. He said it was unlikely this round of talks would be the last. ''There's a good chance that we'll have the 16th round of talks, but we have to wait until Thursday afternoon to know when it will be.'' He said Britain had not imposed a deadline, but time was running out.