20 October 2018
CE-elect Carrie Lam had a lengthy meeting with Liaison Office Director Zhang Xiaoming on Wednesday. Photo: HK Government
CE-elect Carrie Lam had a lengthy meeting with Liaison Office Director Zhang Xiaoming on Wednesday. Photo: HK Government

Lam visits Liaison Office; says purpose not for offering thanks

Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Wednesday visited the central government’s main office in the city in a move which her team described as a courtesy call.

Lam arrived at the Liaison Office at around 2 pm and was greeted at the door by director Zhang Xiaoming and several other key officials from the central government’s coordination agency.

After emerging from the office, where she spent about one-and-a-half hours, Lam refuted suggestions that the trip was aimed at thanking Beijing for helping her win Sunday’s election.

She told media personnel that she did not deliver any specific “thank you” message to Zhang, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

When a reporter pointed out that the CE-elect spent more time talking to Zhang than she did when she visited Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, chairman of the Legislative Council, on Monday, Lam said she had to explain to Zhang about some aspects of her political platform.

There was need for lengthy discussion as there will be plenty of matters that Hong Kong needs to engage with Beijing in the future, including issues pertaining to the “One Belt, One Road” economic plan, she said.

People, meanwhile, should not indulge in idle speculation about the purpose of the visit, Lam added.

In other comments, she quoted Zhang as saying that he agrees with the stance outlined by Lam during her campaign with regard to handling Hong Kong’s internal affairs. 

During her election speeches, Lam has said that there is no need for the Liaison Office to worry about a new SAR government led by her since it would be capable of taking care of internal affairs of Hong Kong as well as dealing with the relations between the administration and legislature properly.

Among other issues, Lam was questioned by reporters on allegations that a Liaison Office official was allowed to buy two apartments at the One Kai Tak public housing project in contravention of rules which require buyers to be only Hong Kong citizens.

Lam said she feels eligibility norms for purchase of such units should be extended to all permanent residents in the city.

After the visit to the Liaison Office, Lam also paid a courtesy call on Tong Xiaoling, head of the Commissioner’s Office of China’s Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong.

During the meeting, Lam is reported to have told Tong that she aims to enhance the Hong Kong’s government’s connections with foreign counterparts, something that will require support from the ministry as well as its embassies overseas.

Lam ended her courtesy visits Wednesday by making a trip to the People’s Liberation Army Garrison in Hong Kong, where she had a chat with the commander, Tan Benhong.

As Lam prepares to take office in July, there is speculation as to how many sitting senior officials in the outgoing government will continue in their posts even under a new administration.

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung told the Legislative Council on Wednesday that he is very much willing to keep serving the public and that he would not mind staying in some post.  

However, he added that he believes Lam needs some time to firm up her plans regarding her team.

Ceajer Chan Ka-keung, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, declined to comment when asked whether he will stay or leave, nor did Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok.

[Chinese version 中文版]

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