Press Releases

SCA on cross-strait relations

The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, today (October 10) said that economic co-operation could shape the political landscape, and in time problems left over from history could be resolved. In the long run, people of our generation would be able to witness a breakthrough in cross-strait relations.

Mr Lam's remarks came during a welcome speech at a luncheon held in honour of the CS Culture Foundation and the speakers and guests of CS Forum.

He said, "Over the past two decades, with the adoption of reforms and open-door policy and the introduction of the Four Modernisations, the manufacturing industry in Hong Kong had the opportunity to relocate to the Mainland. Through this process, Hong Kong people had progressively gained confidence in the Mainland and the basic policies of 'One Country, Two Systems' and 'Hong Kong people running Hong Kong'."

Mr Lam also pointed out that in time problems left over from history could be resolved. He said that Hong Kong people had gone through different phases between 1980s and before the handover in 1997. Citing the number of emigrants to Canada as an example, he said that the number was once as high as 40,000 per year, reflecting a sense of uncertainty about the future among Hong Kong people at the time. Noting that the number has been significantly reduced to several thousand per year, Mr Lam said as time went by, people had gained much more confidence about the future.

Mr Lam said, "Following reunification, there has been new development potential for Hong Kong since the handover. The basic policies of 'One Country, Two Systems', 'Hong Kong people running Hong Kong' and 'a high degree of autonomy' are enshrined in the Basic Law.

"On economic development, under 'One Country, Two Systems', Hong Kong remains a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Therefore, after China had gained accession to WTO, Hong Kong was able to conclude a free trade agreement with the Mainland i.e. the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)."

Hong Kong also enjoys a much wider scope to develop relations at the international level. Last year, Hong Kong hosted successfully the 6th Ministerial Conference of WTO. Later this year, Hong Kong will also host the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) Telecom World 2006. This is the first time that ITU has organised this international event outside Geneva.

Mr Lam said, "In time, problems left over from history can be resolved. Hong Kong people fully support unification of the country and strengthening of cross-strait relations. The Basic Law protects human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong. Within our community, we are undertaking constructive discussions on the implementation of universal suffrage for returning the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council.

"We hope that Hong Kong's experience can help resolve the Taiwan issue. In the long run, I believe that people of our generation will be able to witness a breakthrough in cross-strait relations."

Ends/Tuesday, October 10, 2006