John Lee vows to defend national security, shrugs off sanction concerns
Incoming Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu vowed to take the global financial hub to fresh heights and defend national security, while shrugging off concerns about sanctions the United States has imposed on him.
"The next five years will be a crucial time for Hong Kong to advance from stability to prosperity," Lee told a news conference when meeting the media with his newly appointed governing team.
"We will be proactive in winning the trust of the people … My team and I will rise to the challenges leading Hong Kong."
A former career police officer, Lee is widely expected to prioritise security issues, after having urged new legislation to fully implement the national security law Beijing imposed in 2020.
The U.S. sanctions targeted him, along with other Hong Kong and Chinese officials, for what Washington called their role in curbing Hong Kong's freedoms under the security law.
"Some countries of bullies tried to intimidate (Hong Kong) officials with measures like sanctions, especially after their plots to sabotage our national security failed because of the measures we deployed," Lee said.
"This made us more determined in continuing to discharge our duties of defending national security."
Lee said he "scoffed at the so-called sanctions" and paid them no attention. He added that the only goal of the government was to fulfill its responsibility to defend national security, sovereignty and development interests.
The United States hit 11 Hong Kong and Beijing officials with sanctions two years ago. Seven were members of the Hong Kong government, and four will continue in the new administration, including leader-in-waiting John Lee, security minister Chris Tang, mainland affairs minister Erick Tsang and newly appointed chief secretary for administration Eric Chan.
The other three sanctioned were retired police chief Steven Lo, outgoing city leader Carrie Lam and Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, who will be replaced.
In addition, Lee said that the new team has a diverse background and the members were from different networks, which would make the government take into account different views in policy-making and let the community understand each policy better.
He added that competence, knowledge and experience are the main considerations in selecting the new cabinet.