Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda will attend the controversial investiture of Hong Kong’s new legislature, which will be held in the early hours of June 24 following the colony’s transfer to Chinese rule on June 23, Foreign Ministry officials said June 25.
Ikeda will visit Hong Kong from June 29 to July 3 to attend the midnight transfer ceremony that will end 156 years of British colonial rule. Hong Kong’s future leader, Tung Chee-hwa, will swear in the Provisional Legislature in a ceremony that is likely to draw international attention due to questions the United States and some of its Western allies have made regarding the legitimacy of the new assembly.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who will attend the transfer ceremony, will skip the swearing-in ceremony. Washington has criticized the new assembly, saying it is packed with pro-Beijing politicians and businesspeople who were selected by a Chinese-controlled committee six months ago.
In Hong Kong, Ikeda will meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen on June 23, largely to discuss the return of Hong Kong to China, the officials said.