Government representatives of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Portugal have stated the need for fresh progress in a solution to matters connected with the forthcoming transfer of the Portuguese colony of Macao, inhabited primarily by Chinese, to Beijing's jurisdiction.
At the first meeting of the 30th session of the Sino-Portuguese Joint Liaison Group in Macao, government representatives of the two countries pointed out the importance of "localising" the civil service system and basic laws and using Chinese as Macao's official language.
According to reports reaching here from Macao, China's Chief Representative Han Zhuokang called on the Portuguese side to take further concrete measures to expedite the process of preparations for a transfer of the enclave. He emphasised the importance of appointing representatives of the local population to state posts in Macao, particularly those in the medium and upper echelons.
China also seeks to secure that Chinese or, to be more exact, Beijing's Putonghua dialect, is used as the enclave's official language before 1999 when Macao is to be transferred to the PRC's jurisdiction.
According to Portuguese government representative Antonio Carlos, Lisbon is to do a vast amount of work within two years to adapt Macao's current laws to new conditions and replace almost entirely the staff of administrative bodies.
After 1999, the old Portuguese colony of Macao, just like Hong Kong, will get the status of a Special Administrative District of the PRC.