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Leung Chun-ying

President Xi Jinping approves of work, but don’t over-interpret remarks, says CY Leung

Chief executive warns against discerning anything else about his second term from meeting with Xi at Apec summit; Carrie Lam remains coy about her intentions for top post

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 4:06pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 11:30pm

Hong Kong’s leader says one should not “over-interpret” President Xi Jinping’s remarks about his work, nor link it to his possible re-election next year.

On Tuesday morning, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying spoke briefly again about his meeting with Xi upon returning from a trip to Peru where he attended the Apec summit.

Xi had met Leung for 45 minutes at the sideline of the summit, telling Leung “to continue to implement policies in a comprehensive manner”, among other matters.

Watch: Leung Chun-ying meets Xi Jinping in Peru

Asked by reporters whether Xi’s use of the word “continue” alluded to support for a second term as Hong Kong’s chief executive, Leung would only say: “We shouldn’t over-interpret the president’s words.”

“We met for 45 minutes – It’s a long time. The president fully acknowledges my work, and the work of the HKSAR government,” he added.

At the closed-door meeting, Xi also urged Leung to “resolutely safeguard national unity and maintain social and political stability”.

Don’t read too much into handshakes with Beijing leaders for Hong Kong’s chief executive race

Leung said Xi was “very concerned about Hong Kong”, but also “very supportive” of his administration’s handling of the row over two localist lawmakers who were disqualified for insulting China while taking their Legislative Council oaths.

Leung also said the government would continue to promote trade liberalisation and economic development, noting that leaders at the Apec summit were concerned about the possible impact of Brexit on world trade, and the “unexpected result” of the United States presidential election, where Donald Trump won.

Good governance must remain the focus despite political turmoil

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who was acting in Leung’s position while he was away, was asked about her purported retirement plan after chairing the Executive Council meeting Tuesday morning.

Lam was quizzed about whether she had said at a closed-door event that she would “retire” in June – a seemingly contradictory rumour since she is tipped to run in the city’s leadership race next March.

“I will not publicly repeat what I said at a closed-door function,” she replied.