Kaohsiung Mayor Daniel Han Kuo-yu said, after a two-day trip to Macau, his government hoped that Macau people suffering from serious illnesses would consider his city as an option when seeking medical treatment outside Macau, as medical technologies used in his city were “very excellent”.
Before departing for Shenzhen to continue his seven-day trip to the nation’s two special administrative regions and two mainland cities, Han answered questions from reporters .
Han and his delegation – comprising senior officials of his municipal government and some of the members of the Kaohsiung City Council – visited Hong Kong on Friday before arriving via the new delta bridge in Macau on Saturday. After leaving Macau, he travelled to Shenzhen. He will also visit Xiamen city in Fujian province before returning to Kaohsiung on Thursday. Han’s trip aims to boost economic cooperation and facilitate “emotional exchanges”.
Han, a rising star in Taiwan’s opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party, made the suggestion about his city as a medical treatment option for Macau people when replying to a question from a reporter who asked him what Kaohsiung could learn from Macau in terms of economic development.
In his reply, Han noted that different cities should have their own development strategies in line with their own needs.
“Macau has its own development strategies while Kaohsiung also has its own development strategies. Anyway, we are amazed that Macau’s current GDP per capita ranks second in the world after having risen from US$10,000 or so to over HK$80,000 in the past two decades, and Kaohsiung will strive to catch up.
“In addition to the large increase in Macau people’s incomes, the way the Macau government is taking care of its residents also deserves respect. Basically all senior citizens aged at least 65 are being taken care of by the government and pupils’ tuition fees are covered by the government, which is amazing.
“All Macau friends have greeted us with passion. In addition to commercial cooperation, we have made many friends. We always hope that good friends in Macau will visit Kaohsiung more often in the future.
“We also know that some Macau people who are suffering from serious illnesses choose to receive medical treatment in Hong Kong or Guangzhou. We hope that Macau people (suffering from serious illnesses) will consider Kaohsiung as an option in the future when seeking medical treatment in another city.
“Kaohsiung’s medical technologies are very excellent and it only takes 90 minutes to fly to [Kaohsiung from Macau]. Macau residents can consider Kaohsiung as a city for the extension of health services that they receive. Kaohsiung people can make contributions to helping Macau people maintain their health. I believe that there will be many opportunities for cooperation on medical tourism between Kaohsiung and Macau in the future,” Han said.
Before departing for Shenzhen, Han and his delegation visited the Macau Jockey Club (MJC) and University of Macau’s (UM) campus on Hengqin Island.
During his visit to the University of Macau, its rector Song Yonghua briefed Han and his delegation about his public university’s history, campus facilities, plans and academic achievements. Han visited the State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine – one of the three state key laboratories stationed at the University of Macau, according to a UM statement yesterday.
During his visit to the Macau Jockey Club, Han met lawmaker-cum-gaming executive Angela Leong On Kei, the vice-chairperson of the Macau Jockey Club, and Ambrose So Shu Fai, a director of the company.
Before leaving Macau, the 61-year-old politician said that if Kaohsiung decided to allow horse racing, the Macau Jockey Club would be considered as a possible cooperation partner.
Meeting with Chui
On Saturday morning, Han and his delegation came to Macau from Hong Kong via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB). After arriving in Macau, Han had a meeting with Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On at Government Headquarters.
Senior officials of both sides attended the meeting – with Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac one of the local officials present.
According to a statement by the Macau Government Information Bureau (GCS), Chui told Han that Macau and Taiwan are sharing deep historical ties and close and frequent exchanges and cooperation in all areas. Chui also said that Macau and Kaohsiung have great potential for even closer cooperation.
Chui stressed that Macau was also looking forward to enhancing exchanges with other Taiwan cities, based on the 1992 Consensus, according to which the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are inalienable parts of the Chinese nation.
The statement quoted Han as saying that there was huge potential for cooperation between Kaohsiung and Macau, especially in the area of agricultural exports by his city.
After meeting with Chui, Han and his delegation visited the Tap Seac Health Centre, where he was briefed by Health Bureau (SSM) Deputy Director Cheang Seng Ip about Macau’s public health service. Afterwards, Han visited the nearby Portuguese-speaking Countries (PSCs) Food Products Exhibition Centre in Praça do Tap Seac.
On Saturday afternoon, Han and his delegation attended the “Macau-Kaohsiung Investment and Trade Conference and Agreement Signing Ceremony” at Macau Tower. Both Han and Leong addressed the conference.
Leong underlined in his speech that 49 enterprises signed 27 purchasing orders for fisheries and farming products worth 188 million patacas. He said the contracts were opening up a new chapter for trade and economic cooperation between the two sides.
After attending the conference, Han and his delegation visited the Galaxy Macau and City of Dreams resorts in Cotai, where he met Galaxy Entertainment Group’s (GEG) Deputy Chairman and Executive Director Francis Lui Yiu-tung and Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho Yau-lung respectively.
Han told reporters he had late night supper with Linda Chen, chief operating officer and executive director of Wynn Macau, to thank her for US$2 million order for fresh flowers from Kaohsiung for the company’s two casino-hotel resorts in Macau.
On Saturday night, Han and his delegation had dinner with Central People’s Government Liaison Office in Macau Director Fu Ziying at the New Bamboo Mansion on Penha Hill
The liaison office issued a statement on Saturday night about the dinner meeting, according to which Fu pointed out that Macau has been enjoying economic prosperity, improved residents’ livelihoods, political stability and social harmony during the past two decades since the city’s return to the motherland, adding that Macau residents’ sense of gain and happiness has consistently been increasing during the period.
According to the statement, Fu noted that Macau has a special position and role for cross-Strait relations, adding that Macau can act as a bridge for exchanges and cooperation between Kaohsiung and the mainland.
Fu said that Macau, as a separate customs territory, is actively participating in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA), according to the statement.
In the meeting, Fu urged Taiwan businesspeople to grasp the opportunities created by the GBA development. The liaison chief also said that Kaohsiung people, particularly young people, were “welcome” to visit Macau more often, the statement said.
According to the statement, Han said he hoped that Kaohsiung and Macau will have closer exchanges and cooperation.
Han has been mentioned by Taiwan and international media as a possible candidate in next year’s election of the island’s leader. He has been mayor of Kaohsiung since November last year.(Macaunews)