President calls for consensus on HK constitutional reform
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.
President Xi Jinping meets Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in Beijing on Wednesday.