Bay Area 'will not bite' HK

Top News | Phoenix Un 22 Feb 2019

Development of the Greater Bay Area will not blur the lines of the one country, two systems principle nor lead to the mainland assimilating Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said in a symposium yesterday.

This follows the unveiling on Monday of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area Outline Development Plan by the State Council.

Besides Lam, the symposium at the Ocean Park Marriott Hotel was attended by Guangdong governor Ma Xingrui, Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on, National Development and Reform Commission vice chairman Lin Nianxiu and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference vice chairman Tung Chee-hwa.

Lam said in an opening speech that the Greater Bay Area is important to Hong Kong as its traditional advantage is diminishing due to vigorous competition nearby and because of rising protectionism.

Yet Hong Kong has double advantages under the one country two systems, Lam said. So it should "convert from a connector to a new active role - a promoter and participant - to make Hongkongers benefit from the area's development."

She said one country, two systems is an advantage in the Bay, which would be internationalized further through this principle.

And she added: "The Greater Bay Area won't blur the border between the two systems, weaken the position of Hong Kong as a separate customs territory and cause Hong Kong to be assimilated by the mainland as some people seem to be worried about."

Echoing Ma's comment that Guangdong will make all efforts to develop the Bay, Lam said Hong Kong will do the same. She also plans to promote the area overseas.

Lin, who also is vice chairman of an office coordinating effort in the area, said the two SARs and Guangdong face many challenges in developing, and the area will provide ways to resolve deep-rooted conflicts. The Bay, Lin noted, involves one country, two systems, three separate customs territories and three currencies - a situation without precedent.

Lin also believes there are four principles that must be complied with strictly in the Bay development: actualization of the one country, two systems principle, operating in accordance with the national constitution and the SAR Basic Law, allowing the market to decide on allocation of resources, and making the people the center of consideration. Besides going all out in its effort to develop the area, Ma said on behalf of the Guangdong government, he noted that with various facilities in place - such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link - a one-hour "living circle" between main cities will be achieved in the area.

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