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26May94 HONG KONG: FUNDING PROBLEM HITS TALKS ON AIRPORT.

Talks between Britain and China over the future of the £13 billion Hong Kong airport project broke down for a fourth time last week over the problem of funding.But the Hong Kong government immediately announced that it would seek approval from the Legislative Council to push ahead with a £70 million rail tunnel under the harbour.The tunnel will carry an extension to the Mass Transit Railway from central Hong Kong to the airport. The contract will be awarded next month.The Hong Kong government is continuing to let projects on a contract-by-contract basis, in spite of the failure to sign an agreement with the Chinese.But few observers believe that the airport will open on time in June 1997. China is worried by the amount of debt it will take on after the territory is handed back in 1997.The airport has become a political football between Britain and China since Hong Kong governor Chris Patten launched his democracy proposals, and the stalled talks reflect the general breakdown in communication as much as disagreements over funding. CONSTRUCTION NEWS