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1996 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Bangkok

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in Bangkok, held on Thursday 29th February 1996.


PRIME MINISTER:

Let me just say very briefly, I have just had an hour or so with Prime Minister Li Peng. We spent most of the time, not all of the time, but most of the time discussing Hong Kong matters. It was a very reassuring discussion, I was very pleased with the nature of it, very pleased with the tenor of it, and very pleased with the substance of it.

The relationship undoubtedly has improved between the United Kingdom and China over the last year, economically and in terms of cooperation about the matters of such vital importance to Hong Kong.

In our discussions this evening the Prime Minister reaffirmed some points that I think are of importance to Hong Kong. He reaffirmed that there would be no question of Chinese officials coming into Hong Kong, taking away senior jobs from Hong Kong officials. He reaffirmed the question that there was no question of tax revenues leaving Hong Kong.

We also spent some time discussing the very sensitive question of the Chief Executive Designate, and although no decision upon that is imminent, I am in no doubt, following my discussion with the Prime Minister, that the sensitivity and importance of that matter to confidence in Hong Kong is fully understood by the Chinese authorities.

We also discussed of course LEGCO and the Bill of Rights where the differences that exist between the British position and the Chinese position were reaffirmed. There is no change in those, that is a matter that will be a subject of continuing debate.

I will take the opportunity of reporting more fully on my discussions with the Prime Minister when I am in Hong Kong in a day or so. But overall I thought the nature and tenor of discussion was more reassuring than any that I have had in the past and I am delighted we had the opportunity of meeting this evening.