Dáil Éireann - Volume 455 - 27 June, 1995

Written Answers. - Hong Kong 1997 Developments.

48. Mr. Callely asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the proposals, if any, being considered to accommodate the 1997 developments in Hong Kong; the benefits, if any, accruing to Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11679/95]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Spring): Negotiations concerning Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty on 1 July 1997 are a matter for the Chinese and British authorities and those negotiations are proceeding.

When I paid my official visit to China in September 1994, I met the Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister, Mr. Qian Qichen, and expressed the hope that, in spite of the fact that Chinese law does not provide for Honorary Consuls, Ireland's Honorary Consul in Hong Kong would be able to continue to operate after 1997. I appreciate the fact that the Chinese authorities have since agreed that those countries which have diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China may retain an [80] Honorary Consulate in Hong Kong after 1 July 1997.