Thatcher grills Chinese on HK
Wednesday 29 March 1995
At a meeting in the Zhongnanhai leadership compound, Lady Thatcher posed with Mr Li, saying that it was "very nice to be here". But when they took their seats in the ornate reception room, the former prime minister went straight to the point, even before spectators could be ushered out.
Lady Thatcher said: "Thank you very much for giving me time to talk together. I think we should talk about the remaining problems in Hong Kong, with but a short time available to solve them, and also about the many exciting things that are happening in China now."
Mr Li said: "I'm ready to talk with Lady Thatcher about all the issues you are interested in," to which Lady Thatcher replied: "Thank you. That would take a very long time." (Laughter.)
Lady Thatcher went on to say there were "quite a number of things to be solved and two years isn't very long in which to solve them... But it is long enough, as long as we get on with it."
Looking impatient, Lady Thatcher then suggested to her hosts that it might be time for the audience to leave. As everyone left, her voice could be heard saying: "I never forget that I signed the Joint Declaration."
The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration was the agreement under which Hong Kong will revert to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. It is 20 months since a cabinet minister has been welcomed in Peking, so there is some interest in Lady Thatcher's agenda. She is said not to be acting as an emissary for the British government, nor to be here to negotiate. But her visit is seen as a sign that Sino-British relations are stabilising.
But it seems unlikely her meetings will solve outstanding problems over the transfer of sovereignty and her arrival yesterday was overshadowed by that of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain.
- 1 Stolen Instagram photo sells for $90,000
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 4 'Don't blame all men for rape' campaign backfires spectacularly
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
UK's biggest male rape charity Survivors UK has state funding slashed to zero despite 120% rise in men reporting sexual violence and seeking help
Priest warns pupils the 'Charlie Charlie Challenge' is 'demonic activity'
'Don't blame all men for rape' campaign backfires spectacularly
Iran launches anti-Isis cartoon competition 'to expose true nature of Islamic State'
Fifa corruption arrests: Sepp Blatter 'quite relaxed' and confident he is 'not involved'
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Engineers for field & bench ser...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity for a t...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global provider of call ce...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: By developing intimate relationships with inte...