Following is the transcript of the answer by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, to a media question after a luncheon this afternoon (February 21):
Reporter: Mr Tam, have you consulted the Liaison Office and the democrats? Are both sides interested in taking part in the dinner? Do you think the dinner will be constructive, or is it just going to be another political show?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: I do not think the second round of gatherings hosted by the Chief Secretary would be just a "show" per se. It actually provides a very useful platform for all stakeholders to come together. According to the Basic Law, we would need the Legislative Council, the executive as well as the Standing Committee of the NPC (National People's Congress) to agree on the final package. And, therefore, the second round of discussions, as you can see, is hosted by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, attended by Legislative Councillors as well as the Liaison Office representative and thereby actually bringing the three stakeholders together to exchange views in a more informal and relaxing manner so as not to put too much pressure on any party so that it would be conducive to a more honest and direct exchange of views, and perhaps worries as well, on the way forward. I think it's a very good thing to do.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Friday, February 21, 2014