Chief Secretary Carrie Lam has said her official Beijing trip is unrelated to the upcoming the chief executive race.

She flew to the capital on Thursday morning to attend a cultural event at the former imperial palace on Friday evening. It will also be attended by sitting Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying – who was on a duty visit to Beijing – and relevant Chinese officials, Lam said.

Lam was asked at the airport whether she would meet Beijing officials to discuss the city’s leadership race, as she flew in early. “I will not. My work this time is completely related to the cultural cooperation project. I flew in early because we have to visit the site this afternoon, and discuss the relevant work tomorrow with friends of the former imperial palace over this cultural project.”

Carrie Lam. File Photo: GovHK.

Lam will then be on leave between December 24 and 29, staying in Beijing where her husband and son are currently working.

Lam is rumoured to resign in order to run for the city’s top job as early as mid-January, before Leung will deliver his final policy address.

Leung in Beijing

Meanwhile, Leung met with Wang Guangya, the Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council. But there was no information released about what was discussed.

On Thursday morning, Leung visited Beijing’s National Development and Reform Commission to meet with its chairman Xu Shaoshi.

He was accompanied by Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So, Secretary for Development Paul Chan, Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung, MTR Corporation CEO Lincoln Leong and Airport Authority Chairman Jack So.

Leung Chun-ying and Wang Guangya. Photo: GovHK.

Xu mentioned that Hong Kong had made a great effort in hosting a forum in May on the Belt and Road initiative, which was attended by Chinese state leader Zhang Dejiang. He thanked Hong Kong for supporting the development of the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge.

“The Hong Kong government offered great support – not long ago this year, Hong Kong hosted a meeting between the three places. In general, the progress was smooth. Of course, there are other aspects, therefore we want to use this opportunity to thank the chief executive and the Hong Kong government,” Xu said.

Leung, in response, said Hong Kong’s development was linked to the development of China.

“In the past four and a half years we received guidance from chairman Xu and other friends of the Commission, supporting our work and helping us progress with our work – I give my sincere thanks,” Leung said. “We came to visit chairman Xu and other friends of the Commission today to mainly discuss the Belt and Road initiative, and how Hong Kong can further fit in with the grand initiative.”

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.