Joint check­point to max­i­mize ben­e­fits of high-speed rail

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By LUIS LIU in Hong Kong luis­liu@chi­nadai­

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Car­rie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor stressed on Mon­day that she is con­fi­dent in suc­cess­fully im­ple­ment­ing the joint check­point ar­range­ment at Hong Kong’s high-speed rail ter­mi­nus in West Kowloon, which will max­i­mize the trans­port project’s so­cial ben­e­fits.

She made the re­mark in a meet­ing with Lu Dongfu, gen­eral man­ager of China Rail­way Corp, dur­ing her first of­fi­cial visit to Bei­jing since as­sum­ing of­fice.

Lam said Hong Kong is look­ing for­ward to join­ing the “big fam­ily” of the coun­try’s high­speed rail net­work. She hoped CRC will of­fer greater sup­port to the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion with the in­te­gra­tion.

Con­nect­ing into the high­speed rail net­work will help Hong Kong’s eco­nomic and so­cial devel­op­ment, break­ing new ground for young peo­ple just be­gin­ning their ca­reers, Lam said.

Though the Hong Kong sec­tion of the Guangzhou-Shen­zhen-Hong Kong Ex­press Rail Link, or XRL, only ex­tends 26 kilo­me­ters, the power it will bring to Hong Kong’s and the na­tion’s devel­op­ment will travel far be­yond, she said. The ar­range­ment is the only way to max­i­mize the so­cial ben­e­fits.

“The peo­ple of Hong Kong are gen­er­ally prag­matic. They are ea­ger to get an easier con­nec­tion to more main­land ci­ties,” Lam said.

“I am con­fi­dent that the Hong Kong pub­lic will sup­port the co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment as we will ex­plain the plan in de­tail in the next two or three months,” Lam said.

Lu said the XRL is one of the most im­por­tant cross-bounda- ry in­fras­truc­ture projects and shoul­ders a key role in Hong Kong’s link with the Pearl River Delta re­gion and the coun­try. He said he would co­op­er­ate with Lam’s gov­ern­ment in the man­age­ment of the link.

The Hong Kong sec­tion of the XRL is sched­uled to start op­er­a­tion in the third quar­ter of next year. By then, the city al­ready will be con­nected to the 22,000-km-long high­speed rail net­work.

To sim­plify the boundary check process, the SAR gov­ern­ment pro­posed a co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment to in­vite main­land law en­force­ment of­fi­cers to a re­stricted area in the West Kowloon Sta­tion to con­duct boundary checks us­ing main­land laws, by which pas­sen­gers can go through both im­mi­gra­tion in­spec­tions quickly.

Wang Guangya, direc­tor of the Hong Kong and Ma­cao Af­fairs Of­fice of the State Coun­cil, also said on Mon­day af­ter meet­ing Lam that the co-lo­ca­tion idea com­plies with the prin­ci­ple of “one coun­try, two sys­tems” and the Ba­sic Law.

In Hong Kong, lo­cal ex­perts con­firmed Wang’s eval­u­a­tion. Elsie Le­ung Oi-sie, the former sec­re­tary for jus­tice and now deputy direc­tor of the Hong Kong Ba­sic Law Com­mit­tee of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress, said the area be­ing leased to the main­land is “deemed to be out­side Hong Kong”.

On the sec­ond day of her four-day trip to Bei­jing, Lam also vis­ited the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, the head­quar­ters of the Asian In­fras­truc­ture In­vest­ment Bank and the All-China Women’s Fed­er­a­tion.

Hong Kong is look­ing for­ward to join­ing the ‘ big fam­ily’ of the coun­try’s high-speed rail net­work.” Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Car­rie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor

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