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Xi's pledge of full support will help build better Hong Kong

China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-30 07:42

Xi's pledge of full support will help build better Hong Kong

President Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan arrive at Hong Kong International Airport on Thursday. Xi is making a three-day visit. EDMOND TANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

President Xi Jinping arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday for a three-day visit to the special administrative region, during which he will take part in celebratory activities to mark the 20th anniversary of its return to the motherland and swear in the SAR's new leadership team.

Speaking at the airport on his arrival, Xi said that, as well as bringing the mainland's blessings to Hong Kong, he also came to convey the central government's unwavering support for the SAR's development, and to help the SAR plan for its future.

Beijing's strong support for Hong Kong has been consistent and evident over the past two decades. And before Xi arrived, the central government sent the SAR a valuable gift on Wednesday-further expansion of the 13-year-old Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement to cover nonservice industries on the mainland.

The plan to develop the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was formally announced earlier this year. And it is expected that a Bond Connect program will also be put into place in the near future.

Such substantial measures show that the central government has Hong Kong's best interests at heart.

And, on a more personal note, Xi said in his remarks on Thursday that Hong Kong always tugs at his heartstrings. The last time he set foot on Hong Kong soil was nine years ago, when he visited the SAR as vice-president. He said he was happy to return and see the changes the city has undergone since then.

But as well as seeing for himself how the city is now, he also looked ahead and pledged to help the SAR plan for the future.

Further integration into the country's overall development strategies is the way forward for the SAR, which has somewhat lost its direction amid the keen competition it has faced in recent years.

The SAR can use its advantages, such as in finance and shipping, as well as the trust it enjoys with investors, to play a vital role in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Seizing the abundant opportunities offered by greater integration with the mainland and its development strategies will serve to enhance the economic development of the SAR and improve the well-being of its residents.

Xi's visit will strengthen Hong Kong's confidence in its future. What anniversary gift could be more precious than that?

It is now Hong Kong's turn to deliver on the goodwill and faith the central government is showing in it.

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