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Following is the translation of the opening remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, at the Question and Answer Session in the Legislative Council today (January 11):
(Media-Newswire.com) - Following is the translation of the opening remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, at the Question and Answer Session in the Legislative Council today (January 11):
Madam President, Honourable Members,
Today I'll speak on my recent duty visit to Beijing.
You may well recall that during the visit Premier Wen Jiabao advised us to "keep a clear mind".
The economic performance of Hong Kong last year was indeed remarkable, with GDP growth expected to reach over 6.5%. I am most happy to see the unemployment rate falling to a new low of 4.4%, at a speed even faster than my own popularity rating.
I have always undertaken my duties as the Chief Executive with prudence. To stay alert to the challenges that lie ahead, I have discussed with my colleagues on quite a few occasions the issue of "Whether Hong Kong will be marginalised". We must not overlook the long-term issues despite short-term good performance.
I believe the upcoming couple of years will be defining years for the development of Hong Kong. Our long-term stability and prosperity is to be defined by whether Hong Kong can play an irreplaceable role in the country's emergence as a global economic power.
The world economy has entered an era of global competition. Hong Kong has to compete with cities within and outside the region for a leading position in financial services, shipping, logistics and tourism. Competition also takes place in areas of infrastructure like ports and airports, human capital, city attractiveness and quality of life. Global competition is not an easy process. There is no room for a second-class city. Gone are the days when we could survive by serving as intermediaries when flow of information was limited.
The purpose of my visit was to secure support from the Central Government to affirm Hong Kong's role as a financial centre of the country, a regional financial centre and the world's financial centre. The vision will be fulfilled gradually. During my stay in Beijing, I called on ministry and commission-level officials to discuss policies on expansion of renminbi business in Hong Kong and ways to encourage quality enterprises to use Hong Kong as an investment and fund-raising platform.
On infrastructure, I will strive to start work on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge as soon as possible so as to maintain Hong Kong's edge as a regional logistics hub. On the aviation front, we aim to resolve airspace congestion and to increase the capacity of Hong Kong Airport.
The convention and exhibition sector will be promoted to boost business travel to consolidate Hong Kong's role as a business information centre between the Mainland market and multinational corporations. The Central Government has made immediate and positive responses in this regard.
On the software side, a healthy environment and quality cultural life are essential to attracting talent to Hong Kong to sustain our status as a world-class international city. Public health issues of environmental pollution and food safety must be resolved through regional cooperation. To this end, I discussed with the Mainland officials during the visit ways to improve the mechanism on food safety control and good progress has been made. We will continue to work closely with the Guangdong authorities to gradually improve the regional air quality.
We have been working on measures to tackle the influx of pregnant Mainlanders. This issue was discussed thoroughly here yesterday. I can assure you that we always put the well-being of local expecting women first and we will provide sufficient hospital services and human resources to cope with the demand.
Both Members and the news media have recently been concerned about when I would announce my candidacy. Some have even urged me for an early announcement. Now I would like to share with you my thoughts on the duties of a politician.
First of all, it is my heavy duty, as the incumbent Chief Executive, to work with the whole community to maintain economic prosperity to provide an environment where people can lead a happy life. I cannot afford to fail. As such, I believe that the effect of my personal election activities on the day-to-day governance must be kept to a minimum.
Second, while I have developed new thinking and visions from occurrences and challenges that I have faced from time to time in Hong Kong, I am fully aware that it would not be appropriate for me, as the current Chief Executive or as a candidate to the next Chief Executive election, to promote any ideas that have not been well conceived. To be a responsible candidate, one must be fully prepared. I believe Members here can do much better than I in presenting visions to the public. However, turning visions into reality is a different story. This entails the ability to plan, to co-ordinate and to execute. And it requires repeated reviews, revisions and consultations. I hope that my policy objectives for the next five years will not remain impractical visions. They should not just be simply about spending money, while ignoring where we can get the money in the first place. They must be realistic rather than simply idealistic. I hope I can live up to my words.
So, at this moment, my role as the Chief Executive still comes above all else. Meanwhile, I am preparing to be a responsible candidate. I will announce my campaign arrangements in due course.
Thank you very much.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the opening remarks.)
Ends/Thursday, January 11, 2007
Issued at HKT 16:28