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Speech by CS at Welcome Lunch of Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum 2017 (English only) (with photo)
     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at the Welcome Lunch of the Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum (ACCF) 2017 today (November 28):
Minister Luo (Minister of Culture, Mr Luo Shugang), honourable ministers, heads of delegations, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Good afternoon. It is my great honour to be your host of this welcome luncheon. On behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, I would like to extend our warmest welcome to all participating delegations, especially those from Mainland China and other Asian economies, to the Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum.
     This year is a special year for Hong Kong. It marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR and the 10th edition of the ACCF since its inception in 2003. The forum aims to provide a platform for cultural ministers in the region to exchange ideas and experience in respect of policy and measures for supporting the development of arts and culture.
     The theme of this year's forum is "Cultural Sustainability in a Dynamic World: Connecting Diversity". It highlights connectivity through broader, deeper and more frequent cultural, academic and personnel exchanges. People-to-people connection forms an integral part of our country's Belt and Road Initiative. I am most pleased to note that this year's forum has high-level participation from the Mainland and 17 Asian countries and among them many are from countries along the Belt and Road corridors. My sincere gratitude to you all for the support to this forum.
     Arts and culture are the soul of a city. The HKSAR Government strives to provide an environment conducive to arts and cultural development. The much-anticipated West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) is taking shape and becoming a prominent landmark on the waterfront of Victoria Harbour. Major facilities of the WKCD to be completed in the next few years include the Xiqu Centre, the M+ museum, the Lyric Theatre Complex, Freespace, the Art Park and the Hong Kong Palace Museum.
     And as you know, the realm of arts knows no boundary. We are always keen to co-operate with partners worldwide to stage inspiring arts and cultural events. This year, for example, to celebrate the auspicious 10th edition of this forum as well as the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China, our motherland, we have got together with cultural institutions from Mainland China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to host an exhibition entitled "Miles upon Miles: World Heritage along the Silk Road", and timed it to open tomorrow (November 29). The exhibition will illustrate the historical and cultural significance of the routes network of the Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor of the Silk Road by showcasing cultural relics from the three major Silk Road countries. Of the some 160 sets of artefacts from China, more than half are grade-one national treasures. From Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, there are over 50 sets of exquisite exhibits to mesmerise visitors to the show.
     Also as part of the celebrations of our 20th birthday, we have worked in collaboration with Beijing's Palace Museum to present two mega exhibitions earlier on, namely "Longevity and Virtues: Birthday Celebrations of the Qing Emperors and Empress Dowagers" and "Hall of Mental Cultivation of The Palace Museum – Imperial Residence of Eight Emperors". Equally worth mentioning are our joint efforts with the Louvre Museum from France for the "Inventing le Louvre: From Palace to Museum over 800 Years" exhibition, and with the British Museum for the "Eternal Life – Exploring Ancient Egypt" exhibition. In association with Beijing's Palace Museum, we have also organised an international Museum Summit that drew leading figures and professionals from world-renowned museum institutions from the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Russia, India, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands.
     We are committed to consolidating Hong Kong's status as an international cultural metropolis.  In particular, it is imperative for us to create more opportunities for young artists. To this end, we will provide funding of HK$36 million or US$4.6 million in the coming six years for continuing the training scheme for arts administrators and encouraging young artistic talent to study outside Hong Kong and exchange experience with their counterparts elsewhere.
     We also attach importance to strengthening our cultural ties with Mainland China and other economies. The signing of the two agreements with China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the Palace Museum today is a case in point.
     On this note, let me conclude by wishing the Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum 2017 every success and all of you a fruitful discussion and exchange. For our overseas participants in particular, I wish you a pleasant and memorable stay in Hong Kong. Please enjoy our city. Thank you very much.
Ends/Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:41
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The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, speaks at the Welcome Lunch of the Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum 2017 today (November 28).