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Reunification to bring political certainty and create new development opportunities

The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, said today (March 1) that he hoped that through the successful implementation of "One Country, Two Systems" in the Hong Kong SAR, Taiwan residents would understand that reunification could clear up future political uncertainties and would also create opportunities for new development.

Mr Lam made the above remark when speaking at the celebration ceremony of the fifth anniversary of the Hong Kong-Taiwan Youth Exchange Promotion Association.

He quoted two examples to illustrate such new opportunities. Firstly, Hong Kong maintained its membership in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after Reunification. Following our country's accession to the WTO, we established the CEPA (Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement) in 2003. This had contributed to the economic recovery in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong SAR had now overcome the problems arising from the Asian financial crisis and the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic. The HKSAR Government had abundant financial resources. Yesterday, it announced a budget which was well received by the community.

Secondly, Dr Margaret Chan, as a Hong Kong professional and a Chinese national, was successfully elected as the Director-General of the World Health Organisation. This enabled Hong Kong residents to play a part in contributing to our international relations.

Mr Lam added that over the years, the community and people in Taiwan had been concerned about Taiwan's economic restructuring, and had hoped to broaden their scope of activity on the international front.

He hoped that those in Taiwan would promote the implementation of the "Three Links" and would support reunification.

As regards whether the implementation of the "Three Links" would be detrimental to the Hong Kong economy, Mr Lam said that he was not worried. He said that if enterprises in Taiwan could increase their investments in the Mainland, and enterprises in the Mainland could invest in Taiwan, eventually more enterprises would seek to get listed in the Hong Kong stock market. This would be beneficial to the Mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Mr Lam said that since the Constitutional Affairs Bureau (CAB) took up the responsibility for handling Taiwan-related matters in Hong Kong five years ago, the CAB had expanded opportunities to strengthen exchanges with various sectors of Taiwan, and thus promoted the latter's understanding of the implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" in Hong Kong. For example -

* Among the political sector in Taiwan, the CAB had received the Taipei City Council, the Mayor of Taichung City, members of the legislature, etc. Visitors from both the Pan-Blue and Pan-Green camps had been welcomed.

* On the professional front, the CAB had received a delegation from the Chung Hua Society of Law Science, and delegations from the medical and academic sectors.

* On the economic and trade front, the CAB arranged for a delegation representing the Federation of Industries in Taiwan to visit Hong Kong.

* On youth exchanges, every year many young people from Taiwan visited Hong Kong, Macao and the Mainland through programmes arranged by the Hong Kong-Taiwan Youth Exchange Promotion Association and other organisations.

Mr Lam said that the experience of Hong Kong and Macao demonstrated fully that reunification could bring about better and broader prospects. He hoped that the Taiwan community and residents would support reunification of our country.

Ends/Thursday, March 1, 2007