Hong Kong's top official says he will prioritize normal travel with mainland

Hong Kong's top official says he will prioritize normal travel with mainland

On April 15, 2022, Hong Kong's former chief secretary John Lee speaks to the media in Hong Kong while campaigning for the city's chief executive position. ISAAC LAWRENCE AFP Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiuLee Ka-chiu said he would prioritize normal travel with the Chinese mainland if he is elected.

I know reopening the border is a challenge, but I will initiate the talks as soon as possible. Lee told reporters after meeting with business leaders on Monday that they will push the issue in a pragmatic manner.

READ MORE: Lee's candidacy verified, to run for CE election.

Lee said that he fully understands the desire of local residents to reopen the border, and said that many foreigners, businesspeople, researchers and educators are eager to return to the mainland via Hong Kong.

Lee said in future discussions that he will take advantage of his communication experience accumulated in previous talks, candidly explain Hong Kong's situation to mainland officials and listen to their requirements to reopen the border with the hope of reaching a consensus.

The then-chief secretary, along with other leading Hong Kong officials, attended several meetings in Shenzhen in the second half of last year, when he discussed with mainland officials and experts the preparations for reopening the border.

During the Easter holiday, Lee continued his election campaign and met with five business groups on Monday, when they discussed how to improve Hong Kong's competitiveness, improve the local business environment, and the significance of reindustrialization.

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He met with legislators, district groups, and representatives of traditional Chinese medicine on Friday and Saturday to collect suggestions for his political platform.

After Lee submitted 786 nominations on April 13, his candidacy in the chief executive race was verified as valid on Monday. The election will be held on May 8, when nearly 1,500 election committee members will cast their ballots to elect the city's next top leader.