26th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) Chief Executive John Lee, has revealed that he is yet to receive an invitation to a significant economic summit in the United States this autumn, following reports suggesting that Washington intended to prevent his attendance. During his weekly press briefing, Lee addressed questions regarding the matter, stating, “I am still waiting for the invitation letter to be sent to me. We will attend in accordance with standard protocol.”
Back in July, the Washington Post reported that Lee, who is currently under US sanctions due to his involvement in Hong Kong’s crackdown on civil liberties, would be barred from participating in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting scheduled for November in San Francisco. The report cited anonymous U.S. officials as its source. However, neither side has officially confirmed the report.
The potential exclusion of Lee from the summit has raised uncertainty regarding Chinese President Xi Jinping’s attendance. The presence of President Xi, especially in the event of Lee’s ban, remains unclear. When the initial report emerged, a spokesperson from the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed strong disapproval of any ban.