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Remarks by CE at welcome banquet in honour of NPCSC Chairman (with photo)

     Following are the remarks (translated from Chinese) by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at a welcome banquet hosted by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government in honour of the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Mr Zhang Dejiang, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this evening (May 18):

Chairman Zhang, ladies and gentlemen, government colleagues,

     The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government held the inaugural Belt and Road Summit today. It was a great honour to have Chairman Zhang Dejiang as our keynote speaker. On behalf of the HKSAR Government and the community, I would like to extend our warmest welcome and gratitude to Chairman Zhang for his visit and support.

     Nineteen years have passed since Hong Kong returned to the Motherland. With the country's support, the collaboration of Mainland provinces and cities, and the efforts of Hong Kong people, we have thoroughly implemented the "one country, two systems" arrangement. Taking advantage of unprecedented opportunities, we have made steady progress in social and economic development, and in improving the people's livelihood.

     Looking ahead, Hong Kong needs to continue to grasp development opportunities in our country and in the region. We need to look beyond our country, and reach out even more to the world - to expand our economic ties, to enhance people-to-people bonds, to build a larger and stronger external economy, and to strengthen our international relations network. We need to enhance the competitiveness of traditional industries, to nurture emerging industries, and to promote high value-added and diversified industries. Economic development is the only way to continuously improve the people's livelihood. It is the only way to enable the Government to deploy more resources on poverty alleviation, elderly care and supporting the disadvantaged.

     This morning at the Belt and Road Summit, Chairman Zhang specifically pointed out in his keynote speech that "Hong Kong is a key link for the Belt and Road" and "an important gateway in the landscape of China's opening up". Hong Kong has "advantages as first mover of opening-up and co-operation", "advantages in professional services", and "advantages gained from cultural and people-to-people interactions". "The Central Government attaches great importance to Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, and its role in the national strategy." The Central Government supports Hong Kong "in playing an active role" in "building a platform of comprehensive services", "facilitating capital flows and promoting Renminbi internationalisation and the development of the Belt and Road investment and financing platform", and "promoting cultural exchanges for greater mutual understanding among the people along the Belt and Road". The above is part of the Chairman's keynote speech.

     The Belt and Road Initiative is a key development strategy of our country. Since the reform and opening up of the Mainland more than 30 years ago, the Belt and Road Initiative provides another huge development opportunity - enormous, diversified, long-term and sustainable. If Hong Kong can fully grasp the development opportunities presented by the Belt and Road Initiative, our economic and social developments will benefit from a new and strong impetus, and our younger generation will have a brighter future in their careers and in life generally.

     Hong Kong is a highly open metropolis with extensive and close links with overseas communities in many areas. With the unique, combined advantages of "one country" and "two systems", the rule of law, and our biliterate and trilingual abilities, Hong Kong serves as the "super-connector" between the Mainland and countries around the world. Hong Kong has a large pool of organised, experienced, resourceful and active community organisations. As a result, Hong Kong "super-connects" not only in traditional industries, such as finance, investment, trade, logistics, professional services and tourism, or in emerging industries such as innovation and technology, but also in terms of people-to-people bonds such as in culture, education and scientific research. Hong Kong has all the ingredients to establish ties with Belt and Road countries in all aspects - in the five connectivity areas of policy, facilities, trade, finance and people-to-people bonds.  I have every confidence to implement, step by step, the various policies and measures proposed in my Policy Address this year in support of the Belt and Road Initiative. I believe the various community sectors will, with our usual liberal outlook, pragmatic attitude and flexible approach, continue to deepen interaction and friendship with our friends in Belt and Road regions, and to strengthen co-operation with economic partners in all territories for mutually rewarding progress and the common good.

     On behalf of the HKSAR Government, I would like to thank the Central Authorities for their unwavering support. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Chairman once again for his visit, for his care about the development of the SAR and the work of the SAR Government. The SAR Government and the Hong Kong people will continue to strive for the joint development of our country and Hong Kong.

     Thank you.

Ends/Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Issued at HKT 21:05


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