|SCA: Continuing prosperity and stability of HK conducive to enhancing Taiwanese understanding of "One Country, Two Systems"
The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, said today (November 9) that he welcomed the visit of the Alliance for the Reunification of China from Taiwan to Hong Kong.
He considered the visit to be effective in enhancing the understanding among Taiwanese compatriots of the latest development in Hong Kong after the implementation of "One Country, Two Systems".
At a meeting with the delegation from Taiwan this evening, Mr Lam said Hong Kong had maintained its edge in the fields of international finance, trade, shipping and communications since reunification, and its achievements had gained widespread international recognition.
He cited the substantial increase in the number of countries and regions which had granted visa-free access to HKSAR passport holders since the handover from 36 to more than 130 as an example to demonstrate the confidence of the international community in the future of Hong Kong.
Mr Lam pointed out that since reunification, under the Basic Law, the HKSAR Government enjoyed a high degree of autonomy and could handle on its own most of the affairs of the HKSAR.
The HKSAR Government had been dealing with external affairs strictly in accordance with the Basic Law and the "One Country, Two Systems" principle. This ensured that the HKSAR Government could continue to participate in international conferences and international organisations. The HKSAR could attend meetings limited to states as a member of the PRC delegation, and participate in inter-governmental meetings, whose membership were not limited to states, as "Hong Kong, China".
Mr Lam considered that the close co-operation between Hong Kong and the Mainland provinces and cities after the handover was one of the reasons contributing to the continuing prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.
"We have been maintaining close working relationships with the major provinces and cities in the Mainland, for example, Guangdong, Shanghai, Beijing and those provinces in the Pan-PRD region as well as the Macao SAR. Such co-operation mechanism has been established between Hong Kong and these provinces/cities.
"On the basis of 'One Country, Two Systems', the co-operative ties between Hong Kong and the Mainland provinces/cities have been strengthened. On the one hand, new business opportunities have been created. On the other hand, Hong Kong can leverage its edge in various fields and facilitate the Mainland provinces/cities to develop their presence in the international markets, and contribute to the further opening up and development of the country," Mr Lam said.
Mr Lam said that, from 1999 to 2003, the volume of bilateral trade between Hong Kong and Taiwan had an average annual increase of 6%.
There were more than 80 Taiwan companies whose headquarters were set up in Hong Kong, and another 300 had established local offices here.
More than 10% of the applications for the HKSARG's Capital Investment Entrant Scheme came from Taiwan. There was also a steady flow of Taiwanese visitors coming to Hong Kong with about one million of them visiting in the first half of 2004.
Mr Lam believed these figures and statistics demonstrated that the economic and trade relations between Taiwan and Hong Kong had continued to grow.
"The reunification of Taiwan with the country will certainly be beneficial and has no drawbacks. After reunification, Taiwan will no longer face political uncertainties. Economically, like Hong Kong, Taiwan can develop its Mainland market and participate in international conferences and organisations. All these factors will create new room for further development," he said.
The Alliance for the Reunification of China was set up in 1998 with the aim of promoting peaceful reunification of China in Taiwan. The delegation to Hong Kong comprises 10 members.
Ends/Tuesday, November 9, 2004