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|Annual Boundary Liaison Review Meeting
The 21st Annual Boundary Liaison Review Meeting was held in Guangzhou today (March 22). Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Michael Suen, led the delegation of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government. The leader of the Guangdong delegation is the Director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Guangdong People's Provincial Government, Mr Huang Ziqiang.
The two delegation leaders shared the view that the annual session had been very constructive.
Mr Suen said that in anticipation of China's accession to the World Trade Organization and the continuous economic growth of the Pearl River Delta, cross-boundary traffic between Hong Kong and Guangdong would be busier than ever. It was in the interest of both sides to ensure that the transport infrastructure and related facilities could keep pace with the increase, he added.
Cross-boundary passenger and vehicular traffic recorded respectively an increase of 13 and nine percent in 2000 over 1999.
As part of the measures to cope with the increasing cross-boundary traffic, the HKSAR Government has increased the number of staff serving the immigration counters in Lo Wu and has expanded crossing facilities in Lok Ma Chau, Mr Suen said.
"The HKSAR Government will review the medium and long-term needs for cross-boundary traffic, implement new arrangements and bring in new facilities to cope with those needs," he added.
Reviewing boundary liaison work in 2000, Mr Suen pointed out that close coordination and liaison of the relevant departments of the two governments had resulted in the satisfactory resolution of a number of cross-boundary issues. As a result of the close coordination and liaison, both sides had remarkable achievement in combating illegal immigration and cross-boundary crimes.
The number of illegal immigrants and the volume of contraband and controlled items such as cannabis, endangered species, cigarettes and meat intercepted had dropped significantly.
With the co-operation of the Guangdong authorities, the HKSAR Government has since last September put in place arrangements for children with residence in Hong Kong but living in Shenzhen to cross the boundary through Chung Ying Street to attend schools in Hong Kong.
Looking ahead, both sides agreed that relieving cross-boundary passenger traffic tops the agenda and joint effort to combat cross-boundary illegal activities will be equally important.
The leaders of the two delegations agreed that the Boundary Liaison System has been an effective channel to tackle cross-boundary issues promptly. Both sides will take active steps to improve cross-boundary facilities and arrangements to bring more convenience to cross-boundary passengers and to cope with the massive passenger flow during long holidays.
Members of the two delegations will visit the land boundary crossing points after the meeting to take a look at the latest cross boundary facilities.
End/Thursday, March 22, 2001