Macau will be part of the central government’s “One Belt and One Road” initiative, Commissioner of the Foreign Ministry in Macau Hu Zhengyue told the local media on Wednesday.
Hu made the announcement in a speech during a Spring Festival reception hosted by the commission for the local press.
The “Silk Road Economic Belt” and “21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” or “One Belt and One Road” for short, are development strategies put forward by President Xi Jinping in 2013. The “One Belt” will link China with Europe through Central and Western Asia. The “One Road” represents a maritime route through the Strait of Malacca to India, the Middle East and East Africa.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the reception at the commission in Zape, Hu pointed out that about 50,000 Macau residents are returned overseas Chinese from South-east Asia and their offspring. He indicated that this was a special advantage that Macau could offer to promote China’s relations with South-east Asia.
The senior diplomat hinted that details of the participation of Hong Kong and Macau in the “One Belt and One Road” initiative would be announced in the next few days.
In his speech, Hu reaffirmed the commission’s “resolute” opposition to any attempts by external forces to interfere in Macau’s internal affairs. He also said the commission would work hard to create a favourable external environment for Macau’s stable development.
Hu also said the commission would further assist the local government in expanding its external relations and support Macau’s participation in international and regional co-operation projects, namely in the areas of economic development, trade, culture, tourism, health, education and investment. He said the purpose was to bring Macau’s unique advantages into full play.
The commissioner also said the commission would further support Macau’s efforts to become a world tourism and leisure centre and a service platform for economic and trade co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.
Hu pointed out that the ministry’s global 12308 emergency consular protection hotline has been linked up with the local crisis management 24-hour hotline. He said the aim was to safeguard the rights of Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) citizens when travelling or living overseas.
“Wherever MSAR compatriots are, just dial the 12308 hotline, and China’s protection will be there,” he said.
He also said the commission would continue to arrange exchange programmes for local residents, especially young people, to help them better understand the mainland and the world, as well as to strengthen their patriotism.
Meanwhile, China Radio International (CRI) reported on Monday that central government officials were expected to release the implementation plan for the “One Belt and One Road” initiative when the 2015 Boao Forum for Asia opens in Hainan on Saturday.
“The China-proposed initiative is expected to present a potential growth opportunity for the worldwide economy,” the CRI report said.
Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On will head a local delegation to the forum. Hu will attend the forum as an advisor to Macau’s delegation, according to a Macau government statement. (macaunews/macaupost)