Hong Kong's No. 2 official revealed Tuesday that she broke a prolonged freeze by meeting China's foreign minister and its chief of Hong Kong affairs during a visit to Beijing.
"I came away from both these visits really feeling very good and very encouraged about the prospect for more positive cooperation between the two sides," said Chief Secretary Anson Chan, top deputy to British Gov. Chris Patten.
In a trip billed earlier as a vacation, Chan discussed a wide range of issues related to Hong Kong's transition to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 and, in sharp contrast to numerous failed attempts to meet in the past, promised the dialogue would not end.
The visit follows deals last month that were interpreted as signs Anglo-Chinese relations are warming. Britain and China agreed to equip Hong Kong with a final appeals court after 1997, and they signed long-awaited documents that allow companies building Hong Kong's new airport to borrow money.
The last high-level meeting between Hong Kong and Chinese officials was in 1992.