The central government “trusts and fully supports” Macau in the diplomatic field, Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui said yesterday.
Zhang made the remarks in a speech during a reception at the Banyan Tree Macau hotel in Taipa in celebration of the 15th anniversary of Macau’s return to Chinese administration and the establishment of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Macau.
The deputy minister, who is a former ambassador to the US and ex-permanent representative to the UN, pointed out that over the past 15 years the number of countries granting visa-free or landing visa treatment to Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) passport holders has increased from just three to 112. He also underlined the fact that the number of intergovernmental organisations that Macau has joined has risen from 23 to 39, while the number of Macau’s air service and civil aviation agreements has increased from 30 to 41. The 61-year-old career diplomat stressed that over 500 international conventions and their respective amendments apply to Macau.
He also pointed out that Macau’s Historic Centre was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005 and that Macau hosted the 8th APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting last month, apart from having hosted four ministerial conferences of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries since its inception in 2003.
“All this demonstrates that the central government trusts and support the MSAR in the diplomatic field,” Zhang said.
Zhang emphasised that the establishment of the local Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 20, 1999 coincided with the founding of the MSAR.
Zhang, who studied at the London School of Economics, also said that “China has never been so close to achieving its goal of national revitalisation or to the centre of the world stage,” underlining that “China’s diplomacy is now at a new starting point.”
He added: “Looking into the future, we have full expectations of the great revitalisation of the Chinese nation and full confidence in the continued success of the ‘one country, two systems’ [principle] in Macau.”
However, the seasoned career diplomat warned that “our way ahead will not always be smooth so we must prepare for any possible risks with a long-term perspective.
“We must strive for more achievements with a more pragmatic approach and work harder for the prosperity and revitalisation of our great nation and the prosperity and stability of the MSAR.”
Zhang stressed that “diplomatic work relating to Macau is a mission of major responsibilities and pride,” adding that the Foreign Ministry will continue to support Macau in its efforts to expand its external exchanges and co-operation and to transform the special administrative region into a world centre for tourism and leisure as well as a service platform for economic and trade co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.
Commissioner Hu Zhengyue said in his speech said that the efforts of the Foreign Ministry’s local office over the past 15 years “have contributed to the … enhancement of Macau’s international standing.”
Hu pointed out that three former commissioners attended yesterday’s reception.
“Looking into the future, Macau is standing at a new historical starting point, embracing even better prospects,” Hu said.
Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On, his predecessor Edmund Ho Hau Wah and scores of other senior officials and community leaders attended the reception. (macauhub/macaupost)