Macao: Squabble over A Magic Date

Squabble over A Magic Date

For the past decade, Lisbon and Peking have agreed that Macao, the tiny Portuguese colony and gambler's Mecca at the mouth of the Pearl River, would eventually return to Chinese rule. A major hitch, however, has been the & inability of the two sides to fix a date for Portugal to relinquish its administration of the 6-sq.-mi. enclave.

The impasse seemed to harden last month when Chinese negotiators warned that any date beyond the year 2000 "would not be acceptable." Lisbon, it seems, would have liked to hold on a little longer, perhaps until 2007, in order to celebrate 450 years...

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