HK, Ma­cao play key roles, Li says

Premier tells SARs’ lead­ers Beijing fully en­dorses their work

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHAO­HUANXIN in Beijing and SHADOWLI in Hong Kong zhao­huanxin@ chi­

Hong Kong’s role and needs will con­tinue to be “fully con­sid­ered” when­the cen­tral gov­ern­ment fash­ions strate­gies and makes plans, Premier Li Ke­qiang told Le­ung Chun­y­ing, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion, onWed­nes­day in Beijing.

The cen­tral au­thor­i­ties sup­port Hong Kong in play­ing a unique role in na­tional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and open­ing-up, Li told Le­ung, adding that trans­lat­ing such sup­port into solid re­sults will ben­e­fitHong Kong’s peo­ple.

In par­tic­u­lar, the 13th FiveYear Plan (2016-20), the de­vel­op­ment blueprint for the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy, will fur­ther play on Hong Kong’s ad­van­tages, the premier said.

Le­ung and Chui Sai On, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Ma­cao Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion, were in Beijing on Wed­nes­day to re­port to the cen­tral gov­ern­ment on their work this year.

In sep­a­rate meet­ings, Li told Le­ung and Chui that the cen­tral gov­ern­ment fully en­dorses their work and the work of the SAR­gov­ern­ments, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment is­sued af­ter the meet­ings. Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping met with the two chief ex­ec­u­tives ear­lier in the day.

The premier said he hoped the Hong Kong SAR will bet­ter link its re­gional de­vel­op­ment strat­egy with the na­tional one, and iden­tify which of its strong points best align with the needs of the coun­try.

Le­ung said Hong Kong will sup­port the 13th Five-Year Plan and strate­gies such as the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, and will beef up co­op­er­a­tion with the main­land in ar­eas in­clud­ing fi­nance and tech­nol­ogy.

In his meet­ing with Chui, Li said he ex­pected Ma­cao to seize the op­por­tu­ni­ties aris­ing from the com­ing five-year plan and op­ti­mize its role as a free port and a trade and ser­vice link be­tween the main­land and Por­tugue­ses­peak­ing coun­tries.

Hong Kong’s slug­gish econ­omy will gain new mo­men­tum and off­set the ad­verse ef­fect brought by the de­clin­ing economies in theWest, if it em­braces the 13th Five-Year Plan, said Hong Kong’s top gov­ern­ment ad­vis­ers on Wed­nes­day.

“Hong Kong’s econ­omy can’t rely too much on the de­vel­op­ment of Western economies,” said Lau Siu-kai, a vet­eran gov­ern­ment ad­viser and vice-pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion of Hong Kong andMa­cao Stud­ies.

In­stead, it should fo­cus on the main­land and Asia, Lau said.

Hong Kong’s pil­lar tourism in­dus­try has seen a drop in vis­its by main­land tourists af­ter in­hos­pitable be­hav­ior drove them away. Ad­di­tion­ally, the city’s ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects, such as a high­speed rail­way con­nect­ing Guangzhou and Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong-ZhuhaiMa­cao Bridge, are fac­ing an un­prece­dented risk of be­ing un­fin­ished due to fi­nan­cial and po­lit­i­cal pres­sure.

“This is a crit­i­cal mo­ment forHong Kong, as it will move for­ward or will fall be­hind,” said Lau, who also is a Hong Kong deputy to the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­enceNa­tional Com­mit­tee.

Priscilla Lau Pui-king, a Hong Kong deputy to the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress, said Hong Kong, as China’s south gate, should have a seam­less con­nec­tion with the main­land through in­fra­struc­ture such as the ex­press rail link and bridge.

Both agreed that Ma­cao, in de­vel­op­ing plu­ral­ism in its econ­omy, will also face great op­por­tu­ni­ties in the fu­ture if it takes more ini­tia­tive in im­ple­ment­ing the na­tional de­vel­op­ment blueprint.

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