Han Kuo-yu, the Taiwan KMT politician who was elected mayor of the city of Kaohsiung in November last year, will be making a trip to Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen and Xiamen starting from March 22, with Hong Kong as the first leg of the tour.
According to the Information Bureau of the Kaohsiung city government, Han’s visit to Hong Kong is being arranged by Beijing’s Liaison Office, and that the Hong Kong government is only playing a supportive role.
Sources have revealed that Han, during his Hong Kong trip, is likely to meet with Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor at the Government House and have lunch with her.
At the same time, Han could also meet up with Wang Zhimin, Director of Beijing’s Liaison Office.
It is widely believed that the main reason why Han will be officially received by Lam is because he has endorsed the “1992 consensus”. Moreover, he is widely tipped as a potential front-runner for the 2020 Taiwanese presidential race. As such, Beijing may be eager to befriend him.
As Han has supported the idea of “one China, respective interpretation”, it is speculated that the Hong Kong government will be very careful in the arrangements for the Lam-Han meeting.
For example, the SAR administration ensures that no decorations such as any PRC or HKSAR flag will be flying at the venue where the two city leaders may meet each other so as to avoid causing embarrassment to Han.
After attending an event related to promoting agricultural trade, Han’s itinerary will include a visit to the Sino Group and participation in a municipal event at night in relation to the Victoria Harbour, according to information released by Kaohsiung city government.
Robert Ng Chee-siong, chairman of Sino Group, was introduced to Han last year by former Taichung City mayor Jason Hu Chih-chiang. That meeting took place when Han was still the mayor-elect of Kaohsiung and was yet to take office.
During the meeting with Han, Ng expressed his company’s interest in investing in a luxury hotel project in Kaohsiung, according to Taiwanese media.
When Han visited Singapore in February this year, Ng threw him a lunch banquet, and helped arrange for Kaohsiung’s agricultural produce to go on sale in supermarket chains in Singapore.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 14
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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