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CE begins visit to Xi'an

Chief Executive Carrie Lam left Chongqing for Xi'an today and began her visit programme in Shaanxi Province.   After arriving in Xi'an, she met Shaanxi Governor Zhao Yide and attended a lunch he hosted.   Mrs Lam said she was pleased to visit Shaanxi for the first time as Chief Executive and congratulated Shaanxi on the successful hosting of the 14th National Games.   She expressed hope that Shaanxi would share its valuable experience, enabling the governments of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Guangdong Province and the Macau SAR to do a good job in hosting the 15th National Games in 2025.   Noting that Shaanxi is a key link for the nation's Belt & Road Initiative with its rich cultural history, the Chief Executive said the two places can build on the close trade and economic ties to enhance collaboration to contribute to the initiative and promote arts and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world.   She added that the Hong Kong

Temporary suspension explained

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today announced that it temporarily suspended the operations of the Hong Kong Economic, Trade & Cultural Office (Taiwan) (HKETCO) because it could hardly fulfil its founding purpose, and to protect the safety and rights of its Hong Kong staff.   In response to media enquiries, the Hong Kong SAR Government explained that in recent years, Taiwan has grossly interfered in Hong Kong’s affairs on repeated occasions and created irretrievable damage to Hong Kong-Taiwan relations.   It stated that most notably, Taiwan has launched the so-called Hong Kong Aid Project and unilaterally established the so-called Taiwan-Hong Kong Office for Exchanges & Services under the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic & Cultural Co-operation Council (THEC), offering assistance to violent protesters and people who tried to shatter Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.   The provocative acts of Taiwan are inconsistent with the goal of the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic & Cultural Co-operation & Promotion Council (ECCPC) and the THEC, which is to promote exchanges and co-operation between Hong Kong and Taiwan, and also go against the founding purpose of the THEC.   The Hong Kong SAR Government expressed utmost regret over Taiwan’s actions and stressed that Taiwan's series of actions in recent years has severely damaged Hong Kong-Taiwan relations, gradually jeopardising the operating environment for the HKETCO in Taiwan.   On the other hand, it pointed out that staff of the HKETCO have been threatened by radicals in Taiwan. Such circumstances have posed uncertainties for the staff and narrowed the room for promoting Hong Kong-Taiwan exchanges in various areas.   As the HKETCO could hardly fulfil its founding purpose, and to protect the safety and rights of its Hong Kong staff, the Hong Kong SAR Government eventually decided to temporarily suspend the HKETCO’s operations.   It added that all Hong Kong staff members have already left Taiwan and returned to Hong Kong.   The Hong Kong SAR Government pointed out that Hong Kong-Taiwan relations are a special component of the cross-strait relations.   Since Hong Kong's return to the Motherland, the Hong Kong SAR Government has fostered and developed Hong Kong-Taiwan relations in a pragmatic and steady manner.   In 2010, the ECCPC was established as a non-official platform for discussing co-operation between Hong Kong and Taiwan, with an aim of enabling positive interactions between the two places.   The HKETCO commenced operation in Taipei in December 2011 to promote economic, trade and cultural exchanges between Hong Kong and Taiwan, in accordance with the 1992 Consensus.   During the HKETCO's temporary suspension of operations, the Hong Kong SAR Government said it will continue to handle general enquiries and requests for assistance made by Hong Kong residents in Taiwan, as well as provide Taiwan residents with information related to Hong Kong, through the hotline services of 1823 and 1868 and the GovHK website.   The Hong Kong SAR Government reiterated that it will continue to handle matters related to Hong Kong-Taiwan relations in accordance with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR of the People's Republic of China, the one-China principle as well as the basic principles and policies of the central government regarding the handling of Taiwan-related matters in Hong Kong.   The Hong Kong SAR Government added that it will closely monitor the development of the situation and consider the way forward for the HKETCO in a holistic manner.
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