Hong Kong leader CY Leung focuses on mainland train times, not contentious co-location in ‘Greater Bay Area’ tour
Chief executive visits Guangzhou South high-speed train station and lauds importance of transport infrastructure
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying visited Guangzhou South station – the planned terminus of a fraught and delayed high-speed rail link to Hong Kong – but gave a wide berth to the controversial issue of stationing mainland immigration officers in Hong Kong.
Instead, on the second day of his “Greater Bay Area” tour, he was focused on finding out the travel times on high-speed train journeys, querying how long it would take to get to cities like Beijing and Jiangmen.
Leading a delegation including Hong Kong’s financial and development secretaries, Leung arrived at the station shortly after 10am Thursday.
The delegation took a high-speed train to the neighbouring city of Zhaoqing for a lunch meeting with city officials and to visit the site of a proposed commercial hub.
It takes 90 minutes to two hours to travel from Guangzhou South to Zhaoqing by car, but the train journey takes less than 40 minutes.
On Thursday morning, the group also visited a factory in Foshan specialising in building robots and machines for industry. The group then toured Jiangmen. They meet officials from Zhongshan and Zhuhai on Friday before returning to Hong Kong in the evening.
The mainland section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong railway is already open, but the Hong Kong section will not be completed until next year.
That part of the line is facing uncertainty as local officials need to convince a sceptical Legislative Council to approve the stationing of mainland immigration officers at the West Kowloon terminus.
Pan-democratic legislators oppose the arrangement as they fear it will pave the way for mainland laws to be enforced here.
Writing on his blog on Thursday night, Leung explained the importance of the high-speed railway linking Hong Kong and Guangzhou.
Meanwhile, Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung met officials from the China Railway Corporation and the National Railway Administration in Beijing on Thursday morning to discuss the rail link.