October 19, 2023
HONG KONG – As the premier gateway to the Chinese mainland, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will deepen infrastructure connectivity with Belt and Road countries, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said Wednesday.
Speaking at the High-level Forum on Connectivity of third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, Lee said the SAR will also develop bilateral and multilateral economic and trade relations with its Belt and Road partners
“Hong Kong will spare no effort to strengthen infrastructure connectivity and financial integration with different Belt and Road countries, develop bilateral and multilateral economic and trade relations with our Belt and Road partners and, by doing so, help enhance the connectivity between our country and the world.” Lee said.
Lee said that under “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong has the distinctive advantages of enjoying the mainland’s strong support and being closely connected to the world
He said that under “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong has the distinctive advantages of enjoying the mainland’s strong support and being closely connected to the world.
“Geographically, Hong Kong is the southern gateway of our country, China, and can reach half of the world’s population within five hours of flight, well-positioned as a regional connectivity hub,” he said.
Lee said the Hong Kong International Airport is the world’s busiest cargo airport, handling some 4.2 million tonnes of cargo last year. On the other hand, Hong Kong Port is one of the 10 busiest container ports in the world, handling some 17 million twenty-foot equivalent units of containers last year.
Hong Kong has already signed air services agreements or air services transit agreements with some 50 participating countries of the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.
“On land transport, Hong Kong is connected with the over 40 000 kilometer‑long national high speed rail network. This, coupled with the landmark Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, facilitate interaction and underpin close economic ties between Hong Kong and different places in (the mainland),” he added.
Lee said Hong Kong is fully committed to facilitating an efficient and well-connected sea, land and air transportation network in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to create a “one-hour living circle” ideal for living, working and travelling.
“We will continue to serve as a premier gateway for passengers and goods from all over the world to the mainland and vice versa, and help to promote the joint development of ‘hard connectivity’ of transport infrastructure for Belt and Road countries,” he said.
Lee added that the territory also attaches great importance to the development of “soft connectivity” under the Belt and Road Initiative.
He said Hong Kong residents are biliterate and trilingual, and well versed in the business environment and culture of both the international community and the mainland.
“Hong Kong serves not only as a two-way platform between (the mainland) and other Belt and Road countries, but also as a key link for the Belt and Road, and even global, investment and economic and trade networks,” he added.
Lee also noted that Hong Kong boasts a substantial foreign currency deposit base and trade volume, and is the world’s largest offshore Renminbi hub.
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“Hong Kong has long been an ideal corporate treasury center for Belt and Road projects and the prime platform for issuance of bonds and related products. The city provides an important channel for connectivity of capital under the Belt and Road Initiative,” he said.
Lee is attending the Belt and Road forum with a 70-strong delegation from the SAR that includes the largest number of officials and executive councilors to join a delegation in the city’s history.