• Sat
  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 7:52am

Li Keqiang

Li Keqiang, born in 1955, became China's premier in March 2013. Like ex-president Hu Jintao, his power base lies with the Communist Youth League, where he was a member of the secretariat of the league’s central committee in the 1980s and later in the 1990s the secretariat’s first secretary. His regional governance experience includes a period as vice party boss, governor and party boss of Henan province between 1998 and 2003 and party boss of Liaoning province beginning in 2004. He became vice premier in 2008. Li graduated from Peking University with a degree in economics. 

NewsHong Kong

Li pressures Aquino to resolve the bus hostage row

Families of victims say Li's call for resolution is a 'breakthrough'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 October, 2013, 10:14am


  • Yes: 21%
  • No: 79%
11 Oct 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 314

Premier Li Keqiang has urged Philippine President Benigno Aquino to resolve the row over the Manila bus hostage crisis as soon as possible, taking the impasse to a new diplomatic level.

Families of the victims and political analysts described it as a "breakthrough" and believed it would put pressure on the Philippines.

But one observer noted that given the tensions between the two countries over territorial claims in the South China Sea it might not have an immediate impact.

According to a report by the China News Service, Li had a brief conversation with Aquino in a VIP room during the East Asia Summit on Wednesday.

Li said the incident had "dragged on for long" enough and had "affected the feelings of the people in China, especially the compatriots in Hong Kong", the report said. Li said he hoped the Philippine government would resolve the incident reasonably and fairly.

Aquino said a probe carried out by the Philippines was continuing and the Philippines would strive to handle the incident properly.

Li also explained to Aquino China's principles and stance over their sovereignty dispute in the South China Sea, the report said.

The conversations took place after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying told Aquino during a 40-minute meeting on Monday night that unless the matter was resolved properly it would continue to stand in the way of normal relations between Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Aquino agreed that ministerial meetings should take place as soon as possible to discuss how to follow up the matter, but refused to apologise.

The hostage tragedy happened in August 2010 when policeman Rolando Mendoza took 22 Hongkongers hostage on a tour bus and shot eight dead before being killed himself.

Tse Chi-kin, elder brother of slain tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, said it was a breakthrough that the premier talked to Aquino in a forceful way.

"It is definitely a good thing. In the past three years, the president [Aquino] has not respected us at all," Tse said.

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun, who has been assisting victims' families, interpreted Li's remarks as a warning to the Philippine government.



Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

If the Philipines government weren't so arrogant in the first place 3 years ago, firstly by denying their wrongdoings and amateurish rescue action this issue would have been resolved already long time ago.
Arrogance fortified by the naive belief the US will stand with them in decisions made in Asia without realizing they are but just one of many pawns on the chess board for the US, who will not get embroil in this tragedy with a 10 foot pole.
At the international level HK has no clout' as can be shown by the attitude of Aquino shown to CY. So, to the families and I dare say a great number of HK people it shows that Beijing will not stand on the sidelines when we are bullied and I appreciate that. Whatever the outcome, I believe Beijing has done what it needs to do. Leave the rest to the HK Government.
Negotiating with Aquino is like going to a zoo and trying to reason with a monkey. Try using a cattle probe instead.
Philippino government is doubtlessly completely in fault in terms of letting this tragedy happen in their place and not giving apology to the victims' families afterwards. Though there must be a strong emotion amongst us, we must not go beyond the line as a civilized community in whatever action we are going to take to express ourselves.
We should expect a country to apologize and compensate by whatever means. After the Boston Marathon bombing, US President ordered flags to half-staff and the city mayor took up the role to console and organized fund raising to compensate the victims including a Chinese student. It is just a plain civilized behavior one can and should do. I can say anything short of acknowledgement of the tragedy is disrespect equally to the dead and alive alike.
Despite the good intentions of premier Li this is still interference in Hong Kong's affairs. The premier couldn't have chosen a worse time to interfere.
sudo rm -f cy
So China rubs salt in the wound by taking over and reinforcing the fact that Hong Kong has zero diplomatic pull of its own. Truly a lose-lose for Hong Kong.
Do your homework. Officially all foreign policy issues and "diplomatic pulls" are in the responsibility of Beijing (before UK). That was and is the status of HK and never have changed.
What are we expecting from Aquino? For him to say something like “Sorry, HK, for that mess. It was the fault of the Philippines and we’re going to compensate those families affected”?
I doubt an leader of any nation is ever going to say anything remotely close to that.



SCMP.com Account