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Hong Kong

Volume 406: debated on Friday 23 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what negotiations have taken place with Chinese representatives regarding the preservation of Hong Kong"s special status; and if he will make a statement on the role the UK has in Hong Kong. [115165]

Negotiations took place between the UK and China about Hong Kong"s special status prior to the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty on 1 July 1997.Since then, there have been regular exchanges at ministerial and official levels. During those, the situation in post-handover Hong Kong has frequently been discussed. Both sides agree on the importance of maintaining the principles of the1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong which provides Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle.My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary reports regularly to Parliament on the implementation of the Joint Declaration. Our assessment continues to be that, generally, "One Country, Two Systems" is working well in practice.We have a strong, forward-looking bilateral relationship with Hong Kong, a key partner for the UK in the Asia-Pacific region. Given Britain"s role as a joint signatory of the Joint Declaration, we maintain a close interest in developments in Hong Kong.