Joint checkpoint to maximize benefits of high-speed rail
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