Hong Kong’s chief to affix China’s Xi for APEC, in bid to revive town’s fame

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Bangkok, Thailand
CNN
 — 

Hong Kong chief John Lee has arrived at a regional financial summit in Bangkok within the first look by town’s chief govt at a world occasion in almost three years – because the Asian monetary hub angles for a comeback.

Lee, a US-sanctioned official who has guided Hong Kong by means of a latest, vital easing of its Covid-19 controls, is anticipated to make use of the Asia Pacific Financial Cooperation (APEC) assembly to pitch town as open for enterprise, following greater than two years of stringent worldwide border controls.

“We’ll stroll the speak and inform Hong Kong’s good tales as a way to entice enterprises and skills to town for enterprise and improvement,” Lee stated after arriving in Bangkok on Thursday, referring to his plan to steer a Hong Kong enterprise delegation in conferences with Thai counterparts following the summit.

However first, Lee will be a part of Chinese language chief Xi Jinping and representatives from 19 different economies on each side of the Pacific for the two-day APEC leaders’ assembly within the Thai capital, which begins Friday and can concentrate on regional commerce and integration, in addition to addressing international financial threats like inflation and rising meals prices.

Lee held a pull-aside assembly with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at Bangkok’s worldwide airport after arriving Thursday afternoon. Lee was additionally on the airport to greet Xi on his arrival, Chinese language state broadcaster CCTV reported.

For Lee, who took workplace in July, the summit presents an opportunity to try to win again the approval of the worldwide enterprise neighborhood after three years which have reworked town. Previous to the pandemic, the previous British colony was rocked by large-scale pro-democracy protests in 2019, which have been adopted by a sweeping Beijing-backed crackdown on civil society and opposition politicians.

Lee was sanctioned by the US in 2020 for his function in “limiting the liberty of expression or meeting of the residents of Hong Kong,” as a part of the previous US President Donald Trump administration’s response to Beijing’s imposition of restrictive nationwide safety laws within the metropolis. On the time, Lee was town’s Secretary for Safety. The town’s then Chief Govt Carrie Lam was additionally sanctioned.

Whereas US President Joe Biden is not going to attend APEC, Lee will discover himself within the firm of Vice President Kamala Harris and different US officers.

However Lee’s focus shall be economics not politics, because the Hong Kong authorities seeks to revive a flagging financial system that’s solely not too long ago seen a major easing of Covid-19 controls.

In September, metropolis officers introduced they’d finish a system of formal Covid-19 quarantine for worldwide vacationers that at one level required arrivals to spend as many as three weeks in a chosen lodge at their very own expense.

The modifications adopted appreciable stress from the Hong Kong enterprise neighborhood and a few public well being officers to loosen restrictions amid a faltering financial system, an outflow of foreigners and considerations that the monetary hub, as soon as often called “Asia’s World Metropolis,” was being left behind as the remainder of the world moved on from the pandemic.

This marked a departure from coverage in mainland China, which continues to mandate border quarantine and pursue a coverage of stamping out all infections.

Hong Kong, as a substitute, has sought to stability limiting the unfold of the virus with opening up for worldwide occasions, together with earlier this month internet hosting a monetary leaders’ summit and the Hong Kong Sevens, its greatest annual sporting occasion, which had been suspended since 2019 attributable to political unrest, and, later, Covid-19.

“We’re engaged on particular and devoted plans to make sure main occasions and financial actions may be held easily, to open up Hong Kong, to convey a world of enterprise again to Hong Kong as rapidly and as safely as we are able to,” Lee stated at a Hong Kong-based well being summit final week, in response to public broadcaster RTHK.

Lee could have bilateral conferences on the sidelines of APEC and in addition lead a delegation of greater than 20 high-level representatives from completely different sectors to go to companies and meet enterprise leaders with the intention of “strengthening Hong Kong’s connections in addition to financial and commerce exchanges with Thailand,” the federal government stated forward of the journey.

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