Chief Executive-elect John Lee has warned that many hurdles must be overcome before Hong Kong’s border with the mainland can be reopened, and easing restrictions shouldn’t come at the expense of the mainland’s own anti-epidemic efforts.
In an interview with the Hong Kong China News Agency, Lee said he understands many people want a border reopening as soon as possible, but cautioned that they must understand that this will not be easy to achieve, and mainland authorities must make a decision based on the overall epidemic situation.
He said the SAR has been reporting hundreds of new Covid-19 cases every day, and infection risks must be under control before the border can be reopened.
Lee said Hong Kong should now focus on creating the necessary conditions for such a move, by working together to control the epidemic by getting vaccinated.
“If we’re not controlling the epidemic well here, it’s not fair to talk to the mainland about the possibility of reopening he border,” he was quoted as saying.
Lee stressed he will communicate with mainland officials after taking office next month to determine exactly what conditions need to be met, and urged people to be pragmatic and understand that the ultimate decision lies with mainland authorities.
The incoming CE also said he is “absolutely confident” that the riots seen in 2019 will not happen again, saying that the national security risk in the SAR at the moment is “under control” and that “such a large-scale attack is impossible.”
Lee said the government’s intelligence collection capability has been strengthened, and authorities will focus on cutting off the provision of funds for illegal activities.
On the formation of his governing team, Lee said things are progressing largely smoothly, and his cabinet will be introduced to the public before he assumes office on July 1.