Pres­i­dent calls for con­sen­sus on HK con­sti­tu­tional re­form

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By KAHON CHAN in Hong Kong kahon@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping on Wed­nes­day urged dif­fer­ent sec­tions of Hong Kong so­ci­ety to con­tinue to work to­gether to reach a con­sen­sus on con­sti­tu­tional re­form based on the Ba­sic Law and de­ci­sions by the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress Stand­ing Com­mit­tee.

Xi made the com­ments while meet­ing Chief Ex­ec­u­tive (CE) Le­ung Chun-ying at the Zhong­nan­hai gov­ern­ment head­quar­ters in Bei­jing.

Le­ung was in the cap­i­tal for a four- day trip to re­port on re­cent de­vel­op­ments in Hong Kong and to meet with State lead­ers.

Xi said he could see Le­ung and his ad­min­is­tra­tion had worked hard to im­ple­ment poli­cies with the guide­lines of “seek­ing changes, main­tain­ing sta­bil­ity” and “mak­ing peo­ple the pri­or­ity” in the past 18 months, and praised the CE for achiev­ing early suc­cesses in th­ese ar­eas.

“The cen­tral gov­ern­ment fully af­firms the work of you and the HKSAR gov­ern­ment,” Xi said dur­ing an open-door ses­sion of the meet­ing.

Com­ment­ing on the on­go­ing pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on po­lit­i­cal re­form in Hong Kong, Xi said Bei­jing’s stance on se­lect­ing the CE by uni­ver­sal suf­frage in 2017 re­mained clear and con­sis­tent. It was now vi­tal for dif­fer­ent sec­tions of Hong Kong so­ci­ety to reach an agree­ment on th­ese is­sues.

Xi also said eco­nomic re­forms made in the Third Ple­nary Ses­sion of the 18th Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China would of­fer con­sid­er­able fu­ture ben­e­fits. They would cre­ate new op­por­tu­ni­ties for fur­ther co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the main­land and Hong Kong, the pres­i­dent said.

He said th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties would arise from a de­ci­sion to let the mar­ket mech­a­nism play a more de­ci­sive role in the al­lo­ca­tion of re­sources on the main­land. This would also al­low Hong Kong, Ma­cao and Tai­wan to boost co­op­er­a­tion with the main­land.

In re­sponse, Le­ung told the pres­i­dent his gov­ern­ment had made progress in stim­u­lat­ing the Hong Kong econ­omy and im­prov­ing peo­ple’s liveli­hoods in the past year. He said he was con­fi­dent Hong Kong would con­trib­ute to­wards the eco­nomic goals set out in the Third Ple­nary Ses­sion.

Later on Wed­nes­day, Le­ung, ac­com­pa­nied by Sec­re­tary for Com­merce and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Gre­gory So Kam-le­ung, met Min­is­ter of Com­merce Gao Hucheng. The CE told re­porters Gao had stressed that the eco­nomic in­ter­ests of Hong Kong would con­tinue to be safe­guarded by the cen­tral gov­ern­ment. Topics dis­cussed at the meet­ing in­cluded lib­er­al­iza­tion of ser­vices and new free trade zones.

The Min­istry of Com­merce will send a vice- min­is­ter to Hong Kong be­fore the Lu­nar New Year to en­sure the safe, ef­fi­cient sup­ply of food to the city.

On Thurs­day, the CE will meet the min­is­ter of fi­nance and of­fi­cials from the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion.

Le­ung will re­turn to Hong Kong on Thurs­day evening af­ter meet­ing Wang Guangya, di­rec­tor of the Hong Kong and Ma­cao Af­fairs Of­fice of the State Coun­cil.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping meets Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Le­ung Chun-ying in Bei­jing on Wed­nes­day.

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