In response to media enquiries regarding Ma Ying-jeou's remarks on Hong Kong today (April 14), a spokesman for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau said the following:
"The HKSAR Government takes a positive attitude in furthering exchanges and liaison between Hong Kong and Taiwan. In our 2008-09 budget, we have set aside additional resources to promote such exchanges. We will also take the initiative to invite representatives of the political, academic and other sectors in Taiwan to visit Hong Kong, so that we can introduce to them our latest development.
"With the objective of enhancing trade relations and cooperation between Hong Kong and Taiwan, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council has proposed to set up a branch office in Taipei and the application has already been submitted to the Taiwan authorities.
"We take a positive attitude towards the implementation of the 'Three Direct Links'. Even though the implementation of the 'Three Direct Links' may lead to a slight reduction in our tourism arrivals and re-export trade, provided that the relations across the Taiwan Strait are enhanced, and the economy on both sides continue to progress, this will definitely benefit Hong Kong. Our international financial centre will be able to play an even more prominent role.
"The HKSAR Government conducts its relationship with Taiwan under the 'One China' principle and is guided by the 'Qian Seven Principles' (i.e. principles stated by then Vice Premier Qian Qichen in June 1995). In the past few years, we have proactively liaised with a wide spectrum of sectors in Taiwan. We have received members of the Taiwan legislature, including those from pan-blue and pan-green camps. We have received officials at the county and city levels of Taiwan, including the Mayor of Taichung city, delegations led by the Taipei city council and other public institutions. We have also organised visit programmes for Taiwan media representatives, professional bodies, businessmen, students and academia. These initiatives have been helpful in enhancing understanding among different sectors in Taiwan on the implementation of 'One Country, Two Systems' concept in Hong Kong."
Ends/Monday, April 14, 2008