Hong Kong has to convince Beijing that universal suffrage would not bring a 'foreign' element to the city, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen says. Speaking in an interview with Stephen Sackur on BBC World's programme Hardtalk, Mr Tsang spelled out the key condition for achieving full democracy. Asked if he believed Beijing wanted Hong Kong to move quickly to universal suffrage, Mr Tsang said: 'I believe this is something [about which] they will need to be persuaded. As soon as we are able to demonstrate that Hong Kong will not splinter off into some foreign element with the nation as a whole, I think we will be there.' During his visit to the United States last month, Mr Tsang said he would like to see universal suffrage as soon as possible. Asked when Hong Kong would get universal suffrage, he told the BBC the city had had no elections in 140 years of colonial rule. 'We started rather late in the day. Look at the progress we have made in eight years.' Asked if he would commit himself to full democracy by 2012, he said: 'What we do now is settle the arrangement for elections in 2007-08 and then discuss further things ... As chief executive, I am responsible to the people of Hong Kong. I also have a responsibility to [Beijing].' Mr Tsang said it was absolutely right for President Hu Jintao to focus on economic development rather than democracy on the mainland. 'The fundamental issue was survival, with some places suffering dire poverty. Stability and economic advancement is very important.' The programme will be broadcast today at 12.30pm, 4.30pm, 7.30pm and 11.30pm and at 3.30am and 8.30am tomorrow. Meanwhile, Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung said he had relayed to the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office a request by lawmakers for a delegation to travel to Beijing .