SAR in race for possible 'key' Xi visit

The SAR is going all out to create ripe conditions for President Xi Jinping to visit on July 1 for the 25th anniversary of the handover and the inauguration of the next administration, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said.

Although she said the SAR anticipated the visit would happen, she refused to reveal details of preparatory work.

"I cannot confirm at this moment that there will be a visit by. That's why I cannot answer specific questions," she said.

But she believed the state leader would be expected to give a key speech.

"In light of what happened in Hong Kong in the past five years, he is sure to deliver an important speech, further pointing out Hong Kong's development direction. The government will strive to create favorable conditions for the president's visit. But I cannot give out the details," she said.

Lam also refused to confirm or deny reports that incoming chief executive John Lee Ka-chiu and officials will observe a week of "closed-loop" management separated from the community ahead of July 1.

In a briefing on the Palace Museum's opening yesterday, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority chairman Bernard Charnwut Chan sidestepped a question over whether there will be any opening ceremony attended by "guests like state leaders."

He added: "The government will have its own arrangements for the ceremony. Today we are simply talking about the museum's arrangements for accommodating visitors."

Asked about her comments about heavy police guard on June 4, Lam said underground radicals and "lone wolf" actions are still lurking in Hong Kong, which could take place at large-scale events or on sensitive dates. On Saturday, police asked everyone to leave Victoria Park by including it in the "police operation zone." At least six arrests were made.

"With the national security law in place for two years, politics is generally stable. But I, together with the police commissioner and secretary for security, occasionally issue reminders that there still lie potential threats," she said. "As chief executive, I definitely support the risk-oriented approach of my enforcement to safeguard our fellow citizens."