Faced with the increasing openness of the PRC government and continental economic reforms, Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, strove to obtain the PRC`s agreement on the continuation of the British presence in the region.  Hong Kong`s autonomy was guaranteed by the “One Country, Two Systems” agreement, enshrined in the 1984 joint declaration signed by Zhao Ziyang, then Chinese Prime Minister, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. This group was a liaison body and not a power organ to which each party could send up to 20 support staff. It should meet at least once a year at each of the three sites (Beijing, London and Hong Kong). From 1 July 1988, it had its headquarters in Hong Kong. It should also assist the HKSARs in maintaining and developing economic and cultural relations and conclude agreements on these issues with the States, regions and international organizations concerned, and could therefore establish specialized sub-groups. Between 1985 and 2000, the Joint Liaison Group held 47 plenary sessions, including 18 in Hong Kong, 15 in London and 14 in Beijing. In international diplomacy, Hong Kong does not have a separate identity from mainland China. For example, Hong Kong has no independent representation on the UN Security Council, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the Un Group of 77 at the UN or the Group of 22 (G22). Hong Kong may, however, participate in events organised by selected international organisations, such as the Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, as an associate member and not as a Member State.
It can also participate in events and trade agreements under the name “Hong Kong, China”. One of the major achievements has been to ensure the continuity of independent justice in Hong Kong, including agreements in the areas of commercial shipping, civil aviation, nuclear materials, whaling, underwater telegraph, space and many others. It also approved a network of bilateral agreements between Hong Kong and other countries. Within the framework of these agreements, the continued application of some 200 international conventions to the HKSAR after 30 June 1997 was concluded. Hong Kong is expected to continue to participate in various international organizations after the handover. When negotiations between Britain and China over Hong Kong`s political future began in 1982, the British government`s initial proposal was to retain an administrative role in the region after 1997. Such a position has outraged the nationalist sensibilities of the Chinese government, and its total rejection has caused widespread consternation in the territory in the face of possible unilateral measures by the Chinese. However, during a series of tense negotiations, the British yielded to the Chinese position and a sovereignty transfer agreement in the form of a joint declaration was signed in September 1984. According to the statement, China should draft a basic law that embodies certain fundamental policies. On July 1, 7, 1997, Hong Kong was to become a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People`s Republic of China with a government “composed of locals.”