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1996 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Hong Kong

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in Hong Kong on Saturday 2nd March 1996. Parts of the interview were not able to be clearly transcribed.


PRIME MINISTER:

Can I just say a word or two at the beginning of this return visit to Hong Kong? I am delighted to have the opportunity of coming back and talking to the Governor and EXCO and LEGCO, I hope a large collection of businessmen and many of the people of Hong Kong, about the work that still needs to be done between now and June 1997, and of course the position thereafter. The successful transition of Hong Kong remains one of our most important foreign policy objectives. There is, I know, a great deal still to be done.

What I would like to say at the outset this evening is that we will do whatever we possibly can to ease that transition between now and the end of July 1997, but even after that date no-one should imagine that Britain’s interest in Hong Kong, or commitment to Hong Kong, is suddenly going to disappear, that emphatically is not going to be the case and I shall be wishing to discuss that and other matters during this particular visit.

I am looking forward to the opportunity of having a series of discussions. I met the Chinese Prime Minister yesterday, I shall certainly be reporting on that to EXCO and LEGCO, and I will look forward to speaking to you all at greater length later on during the visit.


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

QUESTION:

Can you tell us something about your discussions with ....

PRIME MINISTER:

I hope I will have something to say that will be helpful about that in the next day or so, we had a very satisfactory discussion, but I don’t think I will set it all out tonight.

QUESTION:

Visa free passports?

PRIME MINISTER:

All for later in the trip. Let me set these things out later in a satisfactory coherent fashion, I don’t want to touch on those tonight.

QUESTION:

Will you be holding a press conference during your trip?

PRIME MINISTER:

I shall be having press conferences throughout the visit, yes.

QUESTION:

[Inaudible].

PRIME MINISTER:

I am meeting LEGCO in private, I want to talk to LECCO in private.

QUESTION:

Return of the boat people in Hong Kong .... do the British side have confidence in resolving the problem before 1997?

PRIME MINISTER:

I very much hope we will be able to make a lot of progress on that, that was the purpose of my discussion this morning with the Vietnamese Prime Minister, it is a very important matter. A huge amount has been done, that largely began to fall away after external intervention. I hope that we will be able to find a way of moving it forward.

QUESTION:

In your talks with the Chinese Premier.....

PRIME MINISTER:

No, there were no bargains in the discussion I had with Premier Li Peng. We discussed a whole range of issues, some aspects of what he had to say were reassuring, there were some aspects where there is still a clear-cut difference between the British government and the Chinese government and that is a matter I will continue discussing with the Chinese. I look forward to further discussions with you later.