Hong Kong students, officials talk but don't agree

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Hong Kong protests - October to now (last updated 12/11/2014)
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Hong Kong students, officials talk but don't agree
HONG KONG - FEBRUARY 01: Pro-democracy protesters hold banner that reads 'I want real universal suffrage' and displays a yellow umbrella during a march for democracy on February 1, 2015 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Thousands of pro-democracy supporters gathered in Hong Kong for the first major rally since the occupy movement took over parts of Hong Kong, a stand off that lasted over 2 months. Protestors are calling for autonomy in Hong Kong chief executive elections as China continues to have control over who can run for the position. (Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - FEBRUARY 01: A pro-democracy protester wears a Union Jack during a march for democracy on February 1, 2015 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Thousands of pro-democracy supporters gathered in Hong Kong for the first major rally since the occupy movement took over parts of Hong Kong, a stand off that lasted over 2 months. Protestors are calling for autonomy in Hong Kong chief executive elections as China continues to have control over who can run for the position. (Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - FEBRUARY 01: Demonstrators march for democracy on February 1, 2015 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Thousands of pro-democracy supporters gathered in Hong Kong for the first major rally since the occupy movement took over parts of Hong Kong, a stand off that lasted over 2 months. Protestors are calling for autonomy in Hong Kong chief executive elections as China continues to have control over who can run for the position. (Photo by Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - FEBRUARY 01: Demonstrators march for democracy on February 1, 2015 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Thousands of pro-democracy supporters gathered in Hong Kong for the first major rally since the occupy movement took over parts of Hong Kong, a stand off that lasted over 2 months. Protestors are calling for autonomy in Hong Kong chief executive elections as China continues to have control over who can run for the position. (Photo by Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - FEBRUARY 01: Two demonstrators holding banners saying 'I want true universal suffrage' pretend to have their wrists and ankles restrained during a march for democracy on February 1, 2015 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Thousands of pro-democracy supporters gathered in Hong Kong for the first major rally since the occupy movement took over parts of Hong Kong, a stand off that lasted over 2 months. Protestors are calling for autonomy in Hong Kong chief executive elections as China continues to have control over who can run for the position. (Photo by Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - FEBRUARY 01: Demonstrators march for democracy on February 1, 2015 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Thousands of pro-democracy supporters gathered in Hong Kong for the first major rally since the occupy movement took over parts of Hong Kong, a stand off that lasted over 2 months. Protestors are calling for autonomy in Hong Kong chief executive elections as China continues to have control over who can run for the position. (Photo by Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)
This photo taken on December 11, 2014 shows a woman packing up at a pro-democracy protest camp just before police moved in to clear the site next to the central government offices in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong. Rush-hour traffic streamed through the heart of Hong Kong for the first time in more than two months on December 12 after police cleared the city's main pro-democracy protest camp with mass arrests -- but activists vowed that their struggle would go on. AFP PHOTO / ALEX OGLE (Photo credit should read Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on December 11, 2014 shows a man packing up at a pro-democracy protest camp just before police moved in to clear the site next to the central government offices in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong. Rush-hour traffic streamed through the heart of Hong Kong for the first time in more than two months on December 12 after police cleared the city's main pro-democracy protest camp with mass arrests -- but activists vowed that their struggle would go on. AFP PHOTO / ALEX OGLE (Photo credit should read Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on December 11, 2014 shows a woman packing up at a pro-democracy protest camp just before police moved in to clear the site next to the central government offices in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong. Rush-hour traffic streamed through the heart of Hong Kong for the first time in more than two months on December 12 after police cleared the city's main pro-democracy protest camp with mass arrests -- but activists vowed that their struggle would go on. AFP PHOTO / ALEX OGLE (Photo credit should read Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
Trucks with cranes clear debris near the Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Hong Kongs police removed barricades and tore down tents around government offices, as a group of protesters prepared to make a last stand after more than two months of democracy demonstrations. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: 'We Will Be Back' is displayed on a sign taped to the road outside Hong Kong's Government complex on December 11, 2014 in Hong Kong. After more than two months and drawing crowds of over 100,000 the main Admiralty pro-democracy protest site is cleared away by bailiffs and police after a court injunction paved the way for officials to clear three parts of the site. Police aim to clear the remaining areas, unblocking roads and returning Hong Kong's Central Business District to normal operations. (Photo by Brent Lewin/Getty Images)
ADMIRALTY, HONG KONG, HONG KONG SAR, CHINA - 2014/12/11: On Thursday 11 December 2014, after 74 days of the Occupy Hong Kong protest, a few dozen protesters continue their sit-in at the Admiralty site before police enacted a court injunction to remove protesters and their encampment from Connaught Road Central. The authorities had warned protesters to leave in advance of the clearance, but a few pro-democracy demonstrators remained, leading to a handful of arrests. (Photo by Stefan Irvine/LightRocket via Getty Images)
ADMIRALTY, HONG KONG, HONG KONG SAR, CHINA - 2014/12/11: On Thursday 11 December 2014, after 74 days of the Occupy Hong Kong protest, police enact a court injunction to remove protesters and their encampment from Connaught Road Central. The authorities had warned protesters to leave in advance of the clearance, but a few pro-democracy demonstrators remained, leading to a handful of arrests. (Photo by Stefan Irvine/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A pro-democracy protester is removed by police officers from the highway after protesting near to Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Hong Kong's police removed barricades and tore down tents around government offices, as a group of protesters prepared to make a last stand after more than two months of democracy demonstrations. Photographer: Billy H.C. Kwok/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Trucks with mechanical buckets grab empty tents left by the pro-democracy protestors, after the police cleared the highway near to Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Hong Kong's police removed barricades and tore down tents around government offices, as a group of protesters prepared to make a last stand after more than two months of democracy demonstrations. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An operator controls the mechanical bucket on his truck as its scoops up empty tents left by the pro-democracy protestors, after the police cleared the highway near to Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Hong Kong's police removed barricades and tore down tents around government offices, as a group of protesters prepared to make a last stand after more than two months of democracy demonstrations. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) Remaining pro-democracy protesters operate a sit in outside Hong Kong's Government complex on December 11, 2014 in Hong Kong. After more than two months and drawing crowds of over 100,000 the main Admiralty pro-democracy protest site is cleared away by bailiffs and police after a court injunction paved the way for officials to clear three parts of the site. Police aim to clear the remaining areas, unblocking roads and returning Hong Kong's Central Business District to normal operations. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) Remaining pro-democracy protesters operate a sit in outside Hong Kong's Government complex on December 11, 2014 in Hong Kong. After more than two months and drawing crowds of over 100,000 the main Admiralty pro-democracy protest site is cleared away by bailiffs and police after a court injunction paved the way for officials to clear three parts of the site. Police aim to clear the remaining areas, unblocking roads and returning Hong Kong's Central Business District to normal operations. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) Laborers dismantle a barricade outside Hong Kong's Government complex on December 11, 2014 in Hong Kong. After more than two months and drawing crowds of over 100,000 the main Admiralty pro-democracy protest site is cleared away by bailiffs and police after a court injunction paved the way for officials to clear three parts of the site. Police aim to clear the remaining areas, unblocking roads and returning Hong Kong's Central Business District to normal operations. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
A policeman (R) clears a tent from a road at the main pro-democracy protest site in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong on December 11, 2014. Hong Kong police dismantled the city's main pro-democracy site on December 11, clearing tents and barricades after more than two months of rallies and leading away more than 100 demonstrators, who vowed their struggle lives on. AFP PHOTO / DALE DE LA REY (Photo credit should read DALE de la REY/AFP/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: Police officers clear a wooden crate outside Hong Kong's Government complex on December 11, 2014 in Hong Kong. After more than two months and drawing crowds of over 100,000 the main Admiralty pro-democracy protest site is cleared away by bailiffs and police after a court injunction paved the way for officials to clear three parts of the site. Police aim to clear the remaining areas, unblocking roads and returning Hong Kong's Central Business District to normal operations. (Photo by Brent Lewin/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: A protester is being arrested by police officers during the clearance of Occupy Central Pro-democracy camp in Admirality, on December 11, 2014 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)
Hong Kong police arrest lawmaker and pro-democracy activist Leung Kwok-Hung (C) during a sit-in as police clear the main protest site in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong on December 11, 2014. Hong Kong police began dismantling the city's main pro-democracy site on December 11, clearing away tents and barricades after more than two months of rallies, and hauling off a hard core of protesters who nevertheless vow that their struggle lives on. AFP PHOTO / ALEX OGLE (Photo credit should read Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
Hong Kong police walk towards pro-democracy demonstrators as they clear the remains of the pro-democracy protest camp in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on December 11, 2014. Hong Kong police began dismantling the city's main pro-democracy site on December 11, clearing away tents and barricades after more than two months of rallies, and hauling off a hard core of protesters who nevertheless vow that their struggle lives on. AFP PHOTO / PEDRO UGARTE (Photo credit should read PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrator sleeps on the pavement during a sit-in as police cleared the main protest site in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong on December 11, 2014. Hong Kong police began dismantling the city's main pro-democracy site on December 11, clearing away tents and barricades after more than two months of rallies, and hauling off a hard core of protesters who nevertheless vow that their struggle lives on. AFP PHOTO / DALE DE LA REY (Photo credit should read DALE de la REY/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks past dismantled tents and debris near the Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 Hong Kongâs government removes road blockades and the encampment of protesters around its offices, bringing an end to the democracy demonstrations that have divided the city for more than two months. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A protester is carried away by police officers near the Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Hong Kongs police removed barricades and tore down tents around government offices, as a group of protesters prepared to make a last stand after more than two months of democracy demonstrations. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Protesters sit near the Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Hong Kongs police removed barricades and tore down tents around government offices, as a group of protesters prepared to make a last stand after more than two months of democracy demonstrations. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: A protester wears a skull mask during the clearance of Occupy Central Pro-democracy camp in Admirality, on December 11, 2014 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)
Police use pepper spray against pro-democracy protesters near the government headquarters in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on December 1, 2014. Police unleashed pepper spray and baton charges at students who tried to storm Hong Kong's government headquarters early on December 1, as tensions soared in the third month of pro-democracy protests. AFP PHOTO / DALE de la REY (Photo credit should read DALE de la REY/AFP/Getty Images)
A pro-democracy protester looks on as they face police forces at a pro-democracy rally in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on November 30, 2014. Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-democracy protesters face police forces at a pro-democracy rally in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on November 30, 2014. Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-democracy protesters face police forces after clashes at a pro-democracy rally in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on November 30, 2014. Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-democracy protesters face police forces during clashes at a pro-democracy rally in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on November 30, 2014. Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A pro-democracy protester hangs onto a barricade during clashes with police forces at a pro-democracy rally in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on November 30, 2014. Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A pro-democracy protester is covered in pepper spray as he hangs onto a barricade during clashes with police forces at a pro-democracy rally in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on November 30, 2014. Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - NOVEMBER 30: Police officers use pepper spray as they clash with pro-democracy protesters outside Hong Kong's Government complex on November 30, 2014 in Hong Kong. Leaders from the Federation of Students called on fellow protesters to attend a rally and come prepared for escalated action. Protesters were asked to bring masks, umbrellas and helmets in a bid to move the protests forward after police successfully cleared the Mong Kok protest site earlier this week. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - NOVEMBER 30: Riot police arrest a pro-democracy protester during clash outside Central Government Complex on November 30, 2014 in Hong Kong. According to reports, hundreds of pro-democracy protestors and police faced-off with at least fice potestors arested. (Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - NOVEMBER 30: Pro-democracy protesters clash with police as they try to take over Lung Wo Road outside Hong Kong's Government complex on November 30, 2014 in Hong Kong. Leaders from the Federation of Students called on fellow protesters to attend a rally and come prepared for escalated action. Protesters were asked to bring masks, umbrellas and helmets in a bid to move the protests forward after police successfully cleared the Mong Kok protest site earlier this week. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Policemen arrest a pro-democracy protester during a pro-democracy rally in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on November 30, 2014. Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
To go with HongKong-China-politics-democracy-youth by Katy Lee In this picture taken on October 30, 2014, a pro-democracy protester peers out from inside his tent in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong. A month on the streets has given young Hong Kong democracy protesters a taste of life outside the city's cramped shoebox apartments -- and away from the prying eyes of overprotective parents. In this city of high tower blocks and even higher property prices, many Hong Kongers reach their 30s before they get married and move out of crowded family homes. Space, tranquility and privacy are all in short supply in one of the most densely populated spots on earth. AFP PHOTO/ Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
To go with HongKong-China-politics-democracy-youth by Katy Lee In this picture taken on October 30, 2014, pro-democracy protesters sit inside their tent in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong. A month on the streets has given young Hong Kong democracy protesters a taste of life outside the city's cramped shoebox apartments -- and away from the prying eyes of overprotective parents. In this city of high tower blocks and even higher property prices, many Hong Kongers reach their 30s before they get married and move out of crowded family homes. Space, tranquility and privacy are all in short supply in one of the most densely populated spots on earth. AFP PHOTO/ Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
A pro-democracy protester sleeps at a camp site in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on October 30, 2014. A senior Hong Kong lawmaker was expelled from a prestigious Chinese government body October 29, in a sign that Beijing will not tolerate dissent from loyalists over pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous city. AFP PHOTO/ Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
To go with HongKong-China-politics-democracy-youth by Katy Lee In this picture taken on October 30, 2014, a pro-democracy protester checks his phone as he sits inside his tent in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong. A month on the streets has given young Hong Kong democracy protesters a taste of life outside the city's cramped shoebox apartments -- and away from the prying eyes of overprotective parents. In this city of high tower blocks and even higher property prices, many Hong Kongers reach their 30s before they get married and move out of crowded family homes. Space, tranquility and privacy are all in short supply in one of the most densely populated spots on earth. AFP PHOTO/ Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
To go with HongKong-China-politics-democracy-youth by Katy Lee In this picture taken on October 30, 2014, a pro-democracy protester (C) draws an illustration onto his tent in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong. A month on the streets has given young Hong Kong democracy protesters a taste of life outside the city's cramped shoebox apartments -- and away from the prying eyes of overprotective parents. In this city of high tower blocks and even higher property prices, many Hong Kongers reach their 30s before they get married and move out of crowded family homes. Space, tranquility and privacy are all in short supply in one of the most densely populated spots on earth. AFP PHOTO/ Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
A man jabs his fingers in the throat of a pro-democracy protester (C) in the Central district of Hong Kong on October 13, 2014. Hong Kong has been plunged into the worst political crisis since its 1997 handover as pro-democracy activists take over the streets following China's refusal to grant citizens full universal suffrage. AFP PHOTO / ALEX OGLE (Photo credit should read Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - OCTOBER 14: A pro-democracy protester raise his hands in front of police cordon on a street outside of Hong Kong Government Complex on October 14, 2014 in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy protesters took over Lung Wo Road after police cleared off the barricades on Queen's Road. Protesters continue to call for open elections and the resignation of Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
Pro-democracy demonstrators stand behind umbrellas during a protest in the Admiralty area of Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters girded themselves for an anticipated showdown with police who earlier used chain saws and sledgehammers to clear barricades from a major road in the city's business district. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HONG KONG - OCTOBER 14: Pro-democracy protesters use umbrellas to protect themselves from police's pepper spray on a street outside of Hong Kong Government Complex on October 14, 2014 in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy protesters took over Lung Wo Road after police cleared off the barricades on Queen's Road. Protesters continue to call for open elections and the resignation of Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - OCTOBER 14: Pro-democracy protesters clash with police officers on a street outside of Hong Kong Government Complex on October 14, 2014 in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy protesters took over Lung Wo Road after police cleared off the barricades on Queen's Road. Protesters continue to call for open elections and the resignation of Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
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HONG KONG (AP) -- Hong Kong student leaders and government officials talked but agreed on little Tuesday as the city's Beijing-backed leader reaffirmed his unwillingness to compromise on the key demand of activists camped in the streets now for a fourth week.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying told reporters that the government won't let the public nominate candidates to run in inaugural direct elections to succeed him in 2017, as demanded by thousands of protesters occupying main streets across the city. But he added that there's room to discuss how to form the key 1,200-member nominating committee.

Leung said such changes could be covered in a second round of consultations over the next several months.

"How we should elect the 1,200 so that the nominating committee will be broadly representative - there's room for discussion there," Leung said. "There's room to make the nominating committee more democratic, and this is one of the things we very much want to talk to not just the students but the community at large about."

Soon after Leung spoke to The Associated Press and three other news agencies, top officials from his government began much-awaited, televised talks with student leaders.

In opening remarks, student leader Alex Chow said that an August decision by China's legislature ruling out so-called civil nomination and requiring the nominating committee has "emasculated" Hong Kong.

Chow and four other student leaders, wearing black T-shirts that said "Freedom Now!," faced off against five senior government officials in dark suits across a U-shaped table.

"We don't want anointment," said Chow, secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, one of three groups leading the protests.

Chow also took aim at Leung's comments Monday that Hong Kong shouldn't have broader democracy because the poor would have too much say in setting policies in the Asian financial hub.

Leung's remarks to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times underlined how protesters' concerns have been fueled by discontent over soaring inequality in the former British colony.

"An unequal nominating committee is no good for the wealth gap in Hong Kong," Chow said. "Should it continue to serve business conglomerates, won't it continue to deprive the political rights of the 1 million people living in poverty?"

The officials stuck to the government line that Hong Kong's mini-constitution cannot be amended to accommodate protesters' demands, while also saying that many others don't share their views.

"We hope you would understand that there are a lot of people who are not in Mong Kok, who are not in Admiralty. There are many people at home who aren't insisting on civil nomination," said Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, the government's No. 2 official, repeatedly chided the students for being "idealistic" rather than "pragmatic."

Both sides showed little willingness to compromise. Lam said she hoped for further talks though the students weren't sure whether they would continue.

Thousands of people intently watched the meeting on giant screens in the main protest area in Admiralty, on a highway next to city government headquarters. They cheered student leaders who criticized the government intransigence's and booed Lam when she commended police for exercising restraint.

Police armed with pepper spray and batons have clashed violently in recent days with protesters armed with umbrellas and goggles in the blue-collar district of Mong Kok over control of the streets. Nearly 300 people have been injured since the protest began.

The protesters heaped on more boos when the screens went black after the talks ended, reflecting what several said was their overall disappointment with the meeting.

"The government didn't do anything," said Alex Chan, a 40-year-old technology consultant. "But it's only the start, the first time. Everybody has to find a way to end this situation."

Val Chow, a 30-year-old museum employee, said protesters would now have to dig in for the long haul. She has been visiting the protest site after work every night to support a friend camped out there and other demonstrators.

"They won't leave at this moment because the government didn't give us a reason to go," she said. "This is not going to stop."

Leung said one obstacle to resolving the conflict is a lack of consensus among the protesters as to what would end the street occupation.

He said the government could consider changes such as replacing corporate votes with individual ballots in the nominating committee, as suggested by former Chief Secretary Anson Chan.

The nominating committee is likely to be similar to a panel that picked Leung in 2012 to be Hong Kong's leader. Those panelists were chosen by business groups, professional bodies and political elites.

As to a time for clearing the demonstrators, Leung said that would be determined by the situation on the street.

"It is a question of us having a duty to prevent and stop clashes from happening," Leung said. "Patience within the community is running very thin."

Leung refused to answer in detail several questions about the possible role of central Chinese authorities in managing the crisis, only saying, "We don't have any instruction from Beijing about when and how we clear these streets.

Hong Kong Exec: 'External Forces Behind Protest'
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