The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, and the Deputy Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, Mr Fu Don-cheng, held a joint press conference after a working meeting in Taipei this afternoon (June 5). Following is the answer (English portion) given by Mr Lam at the press conference:
Reporter: I have a couple of questions. First of all, your visit to Taiwan is in an official capacity. I am wondering why the new bilateral structure is going to be at a civilian or civic level as you stressed. The other question is, could you tell us who is going to head the Hong Kong delegation in this new structure? Is that going to be an official who is more senior than you, for example, the Financial Secretary or the Chief Secretary for Administration? Finally, have you in the meeting discussed whether there is any possibility for more senior level exchanges between Hong Kong and Taiwan? Thank you very much.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Firstly, the Hong Kong Government warmly welcomes the new co-operation mechanism that we announced today. It is extremely positive that on the part of the Taiwan side, they will establish the "Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council". Beneath that Council they will establish an "Economic Co-operation Committee" to interact and co-operate with the "Hong Kong-Taiwan Business Co-operation Committee" to be established under the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
Secondly, it is true that senior officials both on the side of the Taiwan part and on the side of the Hong Kong part will take part in this new co-operation mechanism. The Hong Kong Government will form a board of advisers to support the work of the "Business Co-operation Committee". I believe that the answer to your first question is very simple. Visits are visits. Work is work. It is important for us to make progress where possible. It is a positive development that this time round I can visit Taiwan in my official capacity. In future, taking forward the work of the Business Co-operation Committee and the bilateral co-operation committee, the Government and the private sector need to work together. It is important for both officials and representatives of the business sector to be able to come together and hence we have developed this new idea of having a co-operation structure.
What I want to say is that, on the part of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, they have these two associations which interact and co-operate with one another. Henceforth, Hong Kong and Taiwan will also have this bilateral co-operation committee structure to facilitate the work as our relations progress.
And finally, we have stated in our press release that we hope that progressively the Secretaries of the Hong Kong Government will visit Taiwan, and in the other direction, our Taiwanese counterparts will receive our invitations to visit Hong Kong.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Friday, June 5, 2009
SCMA visits Taipei
The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, and the Deputy Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, Mr Fu Don-cheng, meet the media after a working meeting in Taipei this afternoon (June 5).