Hong Kong Hosts Belt & Road Summit, Its Special Role Identified
Sept. 14, 2023, (EIRNS)—Hong Kong is the host for a Belt and Road summit this week, and the semi-official Global Times made a strong case that Hong Kong, as a meeting ground between mainland China and the world, has a special role. They report:
“With nearly 6,000 attendees and over 100 overseas and mainland delegations to the 8th Belt and Road summit in Hong Kong, Hong Kong is back on the world stage, eyeing closer partnerships with regions including the Middle East and Southeast Asia as the year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).”
John Lee, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region explained: “Hong Kong is a participant, contributor and beneficiary of the BRI. The city, which serves as an important conduit between the Chinese mainland and the world, is expanding cooperation with BRI partners in a wide range of areas, including trade and investment, innovation and technology, and infrastructure development.” He pointed out that more agreements were being signed at this summit than at any other. “These record-breaking numbers are clear and compelling confirmation that Hong Kong has returned to the world’s center stage,” he said.
Lau Siu-kai, a member of the Chief Executive Policy Unit Expert Group, was quoted: “Given the hostility of the U.S.-led West, Hong Kong needs to expand its international space to freely maneuver. The city has to actively participate in the BRI and forge stronger ties with the countries involved in the BRI.” Global Times wrote that Lau described Hong Kong as a financial, services, trade, information, legal settlement, and shipping hub, which can help to integrate the nations participating in the BRI. “With the steadfast support of the central government, Hong Kong’s status as a hub in the BRI will be enhanced, and that is the reason why Hong Kong is still able to win recognition worldwide notwithstanding hostility from the U.S.-led West.”
Vice-Premier Ding Xuexiang addressed the gathering by video, assuring everyone, as Global Times put it, that the
“central government supports Hong Kong in maintaining its unique status and advantages, consolidating its position as an international center for finance, shipping, and trade, upholding a free and open business environment based on standard practices, preserving the common law system, and expanding smooth and convenient international connections, enabling it to play an even more vital role in the BRI....”
The authors then quoted Ding: “We hope that Hong Kong will deepen regional cooperation, expand its trade network, and engage in closer interactions and collaborations with the rest of the world.”