The mayor of Taiwan’s Kaohsiung city is expected to meet with Chief Executive Carrie Lam during a visit to Hong Kong next week.

Han Kuo-yu, who assumed office last November, will reportedly hold separate meetings with Lam and Wang Zhimin, director of the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong. Han will visit the city next Friday as part of a weeklong tour of Chinese cities.

Han Kuo-yu.

According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, a government representative said that Han’s meetings were planned by Beijing’s office in Hong Kong.

“It’s arranged by the China Liaison Office, we are the invited party, [we] respect it,” the representative told CNA.

Han, who is a member of the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang, won the mayoral race for Kaohsiung last November – denying a key victory to the incumbent Democratic Progressive Party. He was also a member of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan from 1993 to 2002, and has touted an economic plan based on trading with mainland China.

Han has said that the main purpose of his trip was to foster “cultural and economic exchange” between Kaohsiung and cities across the Taiwan Strait.

Citing government sources, the SCMP reported that Han would not be discussing the hot-button topic of extradition with Carrie Lam at their March 22 meeting.

Wang Zhimin. Photo: LegCo.

The Hong Kong government has faced an ongoing backlash since pushing an amendment to the city’s extradition laws last month. Critics say that the proposed case-by-case system would make Hong Kong residents vulnerable to being extradited to China without human rights safeguards.

The government said that the proposal was necessary to tackle cases such as that of Poon Hiu-wing, a pregnant 20-year-old Hong Kong woman who was killed during a trip to Taiwan last February. Hong Kong authorities arrested Poon’s boyfriend Chan Tong-kai, but were unable to charge him with murder in local courts.

Taiwan authorities have complained that the Hong Kong government was unresponsive and uncooperative in deciding the details of the amendment.

Holmes Chan

Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.