Korean first for Patten

Chris Yeung

GOVERNOR Chris Patten is to make his first official visit to South Korea beginning on Sunday followed by a third trip to Japan to boost economic and trade ties with the two major Asian economies.

Mr Patten will meet South Korean Foreign Minister Dr Han Sung-joo, senior government leaders and ministers as well as business leaders during his three-day visit.

Mr Patten will deliver a keynote speech on the future of Korean-Hong Kong economic co-operation at the second joint meeting of the Hong Kong/Korea and Korea/Hong Kong Business Round-Table.

The Governor will visit Japan for four days after his Seoul trip.

He will meet Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, other senior ministers and prominent businessmen. A government spokesman said the visit to South Korea and Japan was part of a programme by the Governor and other senior government officials to promote Hong Kong's long-term economic and trade prospects in the international business community.

A senior Japanese diplomat said it was important for the Governor to maintain the interest of Japanese politicians and businessmen in the territory so that 'they won't forget Hong Kong'.

The diplomat pointed to the enormous economic stake Japan has in the territory, saying it was in the interest of Japan to ensure the continued prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.