The nation’s former foreign minister Li Zhaoxing said on Thursday that the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative was paving the way for an even brighter development for Macau, urging the city to seize the opportunity provided by its strongly supportive motherland.
Li, the honorary president of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA) and president of the China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA), made the remarks at the International Conference on Belt and Road and Macau’s Development at the Macau Science Centre in Nape, according to the Macau Post Daily.
Delivering a speech during the ceremony, Li said the B&R Initiative can lead the participating economies on the path of prosperity.
The country’s ex-top diplomat also said that he has been to Macau many times in recent years, adding he has witnessed the changes in the city’s development since its transfer of administration in 1999.
Li, 77, headed the Foreign Ministry between 2003 and 2007. He is also a former permanent representative to the United Nations and a former ambassador to the US. He taught at Peking University, his alma mater.
Pointing out that Macau is strongly backed by its motherland, Li said it was greatly advantageous to the city to join the central government’s B&R initiative. He also said Macau was going through the greatest development phase in its history.
“The Belt and Road Initiative is the nation’s major development plan. It’s also Macau’s major opportunity,” Li said. With the central government’s support and the local government’s effective measures, Li said he believed that Macau would seize the opportunities which the initiative is presenting and enjoy an even brighter development in the future.
Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On also addressed the ceremony. He said the conference provided an opportunity to discuss strategy and the path for the city and participate in the B&R Initiative.
Chui said the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which was held last month in Beijing, was a clear example of how to reach an international consensus and create cooperation opportunities. He noted that Macau has to follow this example so that the “spirit” of the initiative can be passed from one generation to another.
Macau will take the B&R express to revitalise Macau’s social and economic development and enable residents to have a sense of participation, Chui pledged.
Jointly organised by the Policy Research Office (GEP), Macau Foundation (FM) and Grand Thought Think Tank, which is headed by lawmaker-cum-businessman Ma Chi Seng, the three-day conference ends on Saturday, according to the conference handbook.
The handbook says that the conference will discuss various topics, such as Macau’s participation in the B&R Initiative together with Guangdong, Fujian and Portuguese-speaking countries, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA). According to the handbook, about 300 people are expected to attend the conference.
According to a statement by the Government Information Bureau (GCS), former senior officials, scholars and leaders of the business sectors from various countries such as Brazil, China, Portugal and Thailand are attending the conference.
Macau’s first chief executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah, now a vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) also attended the opening ceremony.
Former Portuguese vice-prime minister Paulo Portas said in his speech at the ceremony that Macau should be a “dynamic platform for the internationalisation of China.”