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N. Korea to attend Belt and Road Forum, MSAR as well

The Chief Executive will be joined by both the Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong, and the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam

With the recent attention from prominent Mainland officials, and National People’s Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang departing the MSAR early yesterday, the local government has finally announced that it will attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation, slated for May 14 and 15 in Beijing.
In an interesting twist, North Korea has been invited to attend the forum, less than three months after its leader allegedly had his half-brother Kim Jong-nam murdered en route to the MSAR.
In statements made during the Foreign Ministry’s Press Conference on Tuesday, the Chinese authority’s spokesperson Geng Shuang, first stated: “As far as I know the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) will send an official delegation”. This later changed to: “The DPRK will send an official delegation to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation.”
Despite sanctions including banning the import of coal from the country, the ministry spokesperson noted that “the Belt and Road initiative is open to any country sharing a common goal . . . I don’t think the Belt and Road initiative is membership-based.”
“By enhancing complementarities between one’s own development strategy and that of others, countries can benefit from this kind of international co-operation while contributing to the regional and world economy,” stated the spokesperson.
Despite prior answers to Business Daily enquiries stating that no officials were planned to attend, the new information, released yesterday, notes that a delegation led by the Chief Executive will participate in the main event as well as parallel meetings ‘of diverse themes’.
The Chief Executive will be joined by both the Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong, and the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam. A number of local legislators and other government officials are also slated to attend.
The release notes that the local representatives had been ‘invited’ but did not explain whether the invitation was extended before or after the presence of the Chairman of the NPC in the MSAR.
This newspaper previously commented on the creation of a Work Commission for the Construction of ‘One Belt, One Road’. Statements by the Chief Executive’s chief of office, O Lam, point to work to be conducted by the group on the initiative this year ‘name­ly the organisation and supervision of the implementation of diverse priority works’ – without offering any details as to what these will comprise.