HONG Kong's economy should not be affected by the breakdown of Sino-British talks, given Chinese officials' pledges in the past, Mr Patten and his top aides said yesterday. Although China's statement yesterday suggested that a breakdown of talks would inevitably affect the economic front, Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang referred to previous Chinese assurances about not linking the subjects. Declining to be specific about the impact on the airport and Container Terminal No 9 projects, Mrs Chan conceded that the timetable for building the Chek Lap Kok facility was tight and, without an agreement on its financing, the final stages of the construction work could not proceed. She expressed hope that an accord on the airport financing could be reached as soon as possible. Earlier, Mr Patten said: ''I've got a great list here of quotations from Chinese officials saying that there is no relationship between political issues and economic and livelihood issues. Again and again they have given the people of Hong Kong that assurance. ''I see some mirth being displayed around Legco. I can't imagine why anybody should regard it as a matter to laugh at that Chinese officials say they don't want to hurt people's livelihood in Hong Kong in order to try to secure a political point. ''So I hope that we can take those arguments . . . at their face value. ''For the Hong Kong Government, we will do everything we can reasonably do to safeguard livelihood.'' After China released its statement, Mrs Chan said she recalled that as recently as last month Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen had made similar assurances to United States President Bill Clinton about not linking politics and the economy. ''I think we must continue to believe what they have said all along. They have also said that they are confident that they can ensure the continued prosperity and stability of Hong Kong between now and 1997 and obviously after 1997,'' she said. In an emotional appeal, Mrs Chan also said that it was every Hong Kong person's wish to see the territory continue to prosper and be able to assist China in its economic growth. ''I think both [Hong Kong and China] share a common wish for the effective administration of Hong Kong between now and 1997 and maintaining stability and prosperity in Hong Kong after 1997,'' she said.