President Xi Jinping (right) meets with Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region John Lee Ka-chiu, who is on a duty visit to Beijing Dec 23, 2022. (YAN YAN / XINHUA)

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu thanked the central government on Friday for its continuous care and support for the government of the special administrative region, pledging to leverage the unlimited opportunities brought about by the nation’s strategies to lead the city to scale new heights. 

He made the remarks when he presented his work report to President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

Speaking to the media at the Hong Kong International Airport on Saturday after ending his maiden duty visit to Beijing, the CE expressed his thanks to Xi and Premier Li Keqiang for their full recognition of the SAR's work, including their response to the concerns of the residents and issues of reviving the economy and solving deep-rooted social problems.

At his meeting with the Hong Kong leader, Xi said the central government will fully, faithfully, and unswervingly carry out the principle of “one country, two systems”, and make the utmost efforts to support the SAR government's lawful governance, as well as its chief executive.

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The president said the central government fully acknowledged Lee’s work in leading the SAR government after assuming its duties, adding the chief executive has guided the city’s administration in staying pragmatic and enterprising, and has united all sectors in resolutely safeguarding national security.

The CE pledged that the SAR government will fully, faithfully and resolutely implement “one country, two systems” in strict accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law

The CE thanked Xi for his continuous care and guidance for Hong Kong. The president’s important remarks on July 1 and the report of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China both stated that the “one country, two systems” principle is the best institutional safeguard for Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability, and must be adhered to over the long term, he said.

Hong Kong's community is deeply encouraged and has expressed strong support for “one country, two systems”. The international community has also responded positively, showing clear, concrete and strong confidence in this principle, he said.

Lee said Xi’s speech in Hong Kong on July 1 has served as the governance blueprint of the HKSAR’s sixth-term administration. 

He added that his Policy Address has set out his vision for Hong Kong in the next five years and outlined a series of innovative and unprecedented policy initiatives. The initiatives are being implemented gradually, with a view to better serving the people and developing Hong Kong to enable everyone to share the fruits of its achievements.

The Hong Kong leader also pledged that the SAR government will fully, faithfully and resolutely implement “one country, two systems” in strict accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law. 

Hong Kong will resolutely safeguard national security along with resuming economic normalcy, earnestly address the people’s concerns and implement the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”, with the city at the crucial stage of advancing from chaos to order, and gradually from stability to prosperity, he said.

Lee reported to the state leader that he will lead his team to fully leverage Hong Kong’s unique advantages of enjoying the motherland’s strong support and being closely connected to the world under “one country, two systems” to reinforce the city’s position as an international financial, trade and shipping center, and promote its strengths in emerging aspects, such as innovation and technology, culture and arts.

The SAR government will also maximize the unrestricted opportunities brought by the nation’s key strategies, including the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative, and realize the requirements and hopes the central authorities have for Hong Kong, with a view to leading the city to scale new heights, he said.

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Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong delegate to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, said X’s words show that the central government has recognized the work of Lee and the SAR government, including the implementation of anti-pandemic policies, planning for housing supply and the launch of various development blueprints.

Xi’s firm support for “one country, two systems” is a clear message to encourage and bolster the confidence of Hong Kong residents that Hong Kong will have a prosperous future if it can integrate itself into the overall development of the country.