John Tsang gives another hint that he may run for Hong Kong’s chief executive election

Financial chief said he would be open to having more responsibilities if it would help the city

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 October, 2016, 9:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 October, 2016, 10:57pm

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah has stated his willingness to take up more responsibilities if it will contribute to Hong Kong’s progress, hinting again that he may throw his hat into the ring and run in the chief executive election next March.

The comment came two days after the city’s No 3, who is widely tipped to be one of the contenders in the election, said that he had “no plans” to resign to run.

Speaking at a business luncheon in Los Angeles on Thursday, the financial chief also struck a conciliatory note when he was asked about his expectations for the new Legislative Council term.

On Monday, former financial secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung said he was pinning his hopes on Tsang to “unite Hong Kong”, which was a quality he said the city’s leader should possess.

John Tsang ‘can unite the city’, says ex-finance chief Antony Leung

Tsang later posted a picture of himself with Leung and another former finance chief Henry Tang Ying-yen taken on Monday, adding to speculation that a coalition of sorts was massing to support Tsang’s run for the top job.

Responding to a question raised by veteran journalist Ching Cheong, the financial chief said uniting Hong Kong is not the responsibility of one person.

“It is the responsibility of all Hongkongers. I believe Hongkongers have this desire to truly unite to make Hong Kong a more liveable and economically active place,” he said.

“If I feel I can continue to contribute to Hong Kong, I would seriously consider [taking up more responsibilities].”

Tsang is currently on a two-week trip to the United States and the Netherlands to promote trade and investments in the city.

He first gave an indication that he may run for the city’s top job back in July, similarly saying that he would consider it if it helps Hong Kong .

But he has since remained tight-lipped as to whether his intention has stayed the same.

Before departing for his trip on Tuesday night, Tsang said he had no plans to resign before the delivery of the budget next February to run for the chief executive post.

But when asked whether he would not see candidacy, he said he has no such plans either.

On Thursday, the financial chief was also asked whether the current political climate in the city would put off investors.

“I don’t think that’s necessarily the case,” he said. “The new Legco term hasn’t started so I don’t know whether it would have any effect.”

“But I believe the legislators ... care a great deal about Hong Kong. And I don’t think anyone would want to do anything to harm Hong Kong or Hongkongers’ interests.”

On what his expectations were for the new Legco term, which will have its first meeting next Wednesday, Tsang said he hoped there would be more meaningful discussions.

“I hope we can work together in different areas to make Hong Kong better,” he said.