Leung and Li enjoy a business lunch as usual
Chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying dined with Asia's richest man, Li Ka-shing, this week, the tycoon's camp admitted yesterday.
Leung said the global economy, not Li's support for Leung's election rival, was their topic of conversation.
After a newspaper reported the meeting yesterday, a spokeswoman for Li's Cheung Kong business empire confirmed that Li and his eldest son, Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, had lunch with Leung on Tuesday.
Leung would not confirm the timing of the meeting, which came on the same day as a second 'reconciliation dinner' with Beijing loyalist lawmakers, many of whom joined Li in supporting Leung's rival, Henry Tang Ying-yen, in March's election.
'I frequently meet Mr Li Ka-shing [and people from] the industrial, commercial and other sectors. I have also dined with Mr Li in the past,' Leung said yesterday. He said they had discussed the economy and the potential impact of Europe's debt woes on Hong Kong.
Political commentator Ma Ngok said the lunch may have been a gesture of reconciliation as the public did not really know what had been discussed.
'Many issues cannot be solved at just one meal,' he said.
Ma said the fact that news of the meeting had been leaked hinted that it might be part of Leung's drive to strengthen his image.
Li refused to comment last week when asked about Leung's performance, saying he needed time to observe the new chief executive after he takes office on July 1.
He described his relationship with the chief executive-elect as 'quite good' and added that they bore no grudges before or after the election.
Another giant of the property industry, Wharf Holdings chairman Peter Woo Kwong-ching, said yesterday that he had high expectations of Leung's government.
Woo said Leung should be given 'some breathing space' to press ahead with his government restructuring plans.
Discussing the debate about the shake-up, including the filibuster attempt by lawmakers, Woo said Leung's critics were saying: 'I want you to do something, but not to work in your own way.'
Woo, who came third in the vote for the first chief executive in 1996, said the city had suffered in the 15 years since the handover and should not waste time fighting over minor issues like the reshuffle.