THE JLG's expert group on defence matters will meet next Tuesday, raising hopes that the pace of its work will pick up. The two sides are not far from an agreement, with issues on sites and documents covering land use outstanding. The British team has raised the cost of reprovisioning some of the military facilities for the People's Liberation Army. It believes legislators might object as the Joint Declaration states that expenditure on Chinese troops will be borne by the central Government. The British side is also concerned that the airport and Container Terminal No 9 projects are still bogged down in the JLG because of the row over constitutional reforms. Britain maintained that agreement was now critical to meet the July 1, 1997, deadline for getting the first runway of the Chek Lap Kok airport in place. The Government was said to be looking at different options to tackle the problem.