March 25, 1984
Cable from Ambassador Katori to the Foreign Minister, 'Prime Minster Visit to China (Foreign Ministers’ Discussion – Regarding Hong Kong)'
This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation
Primary: Asia and China
Sent: China 01:30 Year Month 25
Received: MOFA 02:58 1984 March 25
To: The Foreign Minister From: Ambassador Katori
Prime Minister Visit to China (Foreign Ministers’ Discussion - Regarding Hong Kong)
Number 1344 Top Secret Top Urgent Q36A
Wire 1339 Separate Wire 5
1. Foreign Minister Wu conveyed the following:
(1) We have conducted 10 Sino-British discussions to date. We will be holding the next talks on Monday of next week. There has been some progress through the meetings to date, especially the recent few meetings.
(2) Chinese policy in regards to the Hong Kong problem is rational. An outline of the policy includes (a) after sovereignty of Hong Kong is returned in 1997, it will become a special administrative zone of China. Capitalism will be maintained. Furthermore, the social system, way of life, and laws will largely be unchanged. “Largely” is to mean that such laws that claim that “the Queen is Sovereign” must be changed. (b) The maintenance and governance of Hong Kong following the return of sovereignty will be tasked to someone chosen through election. We will not be delegating a person for this job. (c) Hong Kong’s role as the center for international free trade will be maintained. Foreign assets and personal assets will be left unchanged.
(3) If Britain cooperates, we would like to consult with them about their long experience of maintaining and governing Hong Kong. In regards to Britain’s interests, we can make special arrangements.
(4) Such a policy is not a one time struggle, but a long-term vision that is beneficial for the world.
(5) We are ready to guarantee that after sovereignty is returned, China will not change the current situation for 50 years. Regarding this point, Britain is somewhat doubtful. However, we will carry out the things that we have said. If our countries mutually cooperate and trust each other, finding an agreement is not so difficult.
(6) Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs is scheduled to visit China in May. We hope that the problems will be more quickly resolved as a result. A swift resolution is important for the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.
(7) Recently, there is a rumor that capital is flowing out of Hong Kong. According to our investigation, capital is flowing in and out, and inflows are greater than outflows. Japanese firms are active in economic activity. Their interests will be protected, so one does not need to worry.
(8) China and Britain has agreed to not let the state of Sino-British negotiations out into the open. So I have reported the above rough outline to Cabinet Minister Abe.
2. Cabinet Minister Abe responded in the following:
(1) It is important to support the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.
(2) There are many private Japanese enterprises active in Hong Kong. We hope that when the need arises for you to treat them reasonably.
(3) We are not worried because Foreign Minister Wu has told us that there is nothing to be worried about.
(4) Regarding China’s thoughts, we would like to convey them to relevant parties in Japan in order to reassure them. (End)
Wu Xueqian informs Abe Shintaro of the Sino-British negotiations on the return of Hong Kong to Chinese control.
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