LABOUR leadership frontrunner Tony Blair yesterday made it clear a government led by him would take the same position on Hong Kong as the Tories and press China to honour its commitments to the territory. Mr Blair, who is expected to be named new leader of the party this month, could well find himself prime minister of Britain at the time of the 1997 handover. Speaking on the record about Hong Kong for the first time, he said Labour had raised the issue of the potential statelessness of the territory's ethnic minorities with the British Government. Asked by the South China Morning Post whether a Labour government would be satisfied with existing guarantees for the future of the territory post-1997 he said: ''In respect of China's guarantees I don't think my position would be different from that of the British Government. We would want to hold the Chinese Government to those guarantees, they are important for the people of Hong Kong.'' He said he knew the territory well, adding that he had relatives who lived there. On trade, Mr Blair said the economic case for the European Union was now more pressing then ever. ''The developing nations of Southeast Asia are breaking all records of economic growth and using a combination of low labour costs and imported technology to increase hugely the competitive pressures on Western Europe.''