CHINA / index

Patten stresses future roles of China, India
By Mark South (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-26 06:40

SHANGHAI: The current US administration has dangerously undermined traditional international politics, and China and India must be encouraged to take on greater roles in solving global problems.

That was the message former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten delivered yesterday in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

"I don't think that the transatlantic community, America and Europe, yet understand sufficiently strongly that there isn't a big issue that we face globally today that we can tackle unless China and India are not only part of the solution but also the leadership of the solution," said Patten, former EU commissioner and current member of Britain's House of Lords and chancellor of the University of Oxford.

"For 50 years we've been used to calling the shots when it comes to determining the global agenda; we can't do it any more. North Korea, Iran, the environment, sharing out the world's commodities We need a rules-based system of economic and political governance, and it's got to involve centrally China and India."

Visiting as part of a tour to promote his memoir "Not Quite the Diplomat," Patten or to give him his full title, Lord Patten of Barnes spent four days in Hong Kong before arriving in Shanghai on Monday.

A controversial figure during his time as governor from 1992 to 1997 he oversaw the handover of Hong Kong back to China Patten hit the headlines once again on his latest visit to the Special Administrative Region (SAR).

This time he said it was an out-of- context quote on a new tax policy that set the fur flying and had the former Conservative politician's literary agents rubbing their hands with glee.

But despite the ups and downs of his governorship, Patten, 62, looks back on the period with affection.

"I had a wonderful life in Hong Kong, and I think whether or not people agreed with what I did, I think they recognize that I was completely committed to Hong Kong, that I loved Hong Kong and I've gone on speaking very positively about it ever since," he said.

At a speech to paying guests at the Glamour Bar on Shanghai's Bund last night, he told the audience that he regarded his five years in the region as the greatest privilege of his life.

"I think Hong Kong has a terrific future, and that future will obviously benefit from economic progress... and help economic progress (on the Chinese mainland)," he said.

But his main focus was on the need for improved international co-operation and China's ever-increasing global importance.