Co-location plan has solid legal basis: Lam
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Sunday reassured the public that the co-location arrangement for the Guangzhou-ShenzhenHong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) has solid legal basis as it would only be implemented by enactment of local legislation.
Speaking after attending a radio program, she explained that once the co-location arrangement is reached by Hong Kong and the mainland, it must be approved and ratified by the country’s top legislature — the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) — and then legislation will be formulated and implemented in Hong Kong. The three steps provide a solid legal foundation for the plan.
Lam reiterated that the XRL would yield optimal economic and social benefits for Hong Kong only by having the co-location arrangement at the West Kowloon Terminus.
She urged the public to “clarify matters and get to the bottom of things”, and adopt a rational and pragmatic mindset in discussing the plan.
The SAR government announced last week that onefourth of the West Kowloon Terminus would be designated as a Mainland Port Area (MPA) in order to provide onestop immigration and customs clearance for high-speed train passengers. Mainland laws will be applied in the MPA.
Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said in his online blog on Sunday the co-location arrangement serves as more than an immigration and customs facility. It also helps Hong Kong to tap into the Chinese mainland’s, and even the world’s, economic veins, thus achieving diversified development opportunities for the SAR.
He said the project’s benefits are so profound that they influence not only the current generation, but also generations to come, as well as the city’s longterm competitiveness.
The XRL, Cheung said, would greatly increase interaction between the SAR and mainland cities, facilitating family visits, travel, trade, business and studies. He pointed out it would take only 48 minutes to travel from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, eight hours to Shanghai and about nine hours to Beijing after the rail link begins operation.
The project would also create some 10,000 jobs in railway management, engineering and retail, helping to boost local employment opportunities, and stimulate the development of the city’s traditional pillar industries.
Besides tourism, industries like financing, trade, logistics and professional services would have deeper access to more markets as the XRL will connect Hong Kong not only with the mainland market, but also markets in regions and countries along the Belt and Road Initiative, such as countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) trade bloc, Central Asia and Europe, Cheung wrote.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po also said in his online blog the co-location arrangement was based on practical considerations and through comprehensive planning. He believed that most Hong Kong people support the plan.
He noted that the XRL would further consolidate Hong Kong’s strategic position in the Guangdong-Hong KongMacao Greater Bay Area and southern China, injecting vitality into the city’s economic progress.
The Hong Kong section of the XRL is expected to go into service in the third quarter of next year.
The co-location arrangement serves as more than an immigration and customs facility.” Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, chief secretary for administration
Students go through their paces at the graduation ceremony of the 13th Military Summer Camp for Hong Kong Youth held at San Wai Barracks in Fanling on Sunday.