Chief Executive Chui Sai On was invited to lead a Macao delegation to Beijing for the Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation on 14th May including a session titled 'Promote Unimpeded Trade' - one of six parallel sessions held. Other members of the Macao delegation attended other parallel sessions; namely, 'Promote Financial Integration'; 'Enhance People-to-People Bonds'; 'Strengthen Policy Co-ordination and Strategic Synergy'; and 'Expedite Facility Connectivity'.
Combining advantages of Macao with 'Belt and Road'
The Chief Executive stated that the Forum was the most high-level conference on the topic - as well as the most important diplomatic event held by the country - since the 'Belt and Road' initiative was promulgated some three years ago.
Macao will focus on top-level policy effort for participation in the 'Belt and Road' initiative, with the city's Five-Year Development Plan, 'One centre, one platform', the Central Government's supportive policies, and the proposal for a city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. This would optimise the conditions for the city's integration with the country and for Macao's role in internationally-facing development.
Macao SAR Government leaders at all levels will be taking the lead in absorbing the spirit of the Silk Road, as well as President Xi Jinping's keynote speech at the opening ceremony, while carefully studying the country in this high-level forum plus the latest major policy measures and support programmes - combined with Macao's own advantages, to further plan and promote the participation of Macao and help build overall deployment “along the way."
Strengthening co-operation between Beijing and Macao
While in the Chinese capital, the Chief Executive held a meeting with CPC Beijing Municipal Committee Deputy Secretary and Beijing President Cai Qi on 13th May to discuss the development of co-operation between the two cities. The Chief Executive highlighted the long connection and history between Beijing and Macao as well as the continued expansion of co-operation.
He concluded by saying that co-operation and the expectation for the development of the next phase includes the following four points: emphasising co-operation in the economy, trade, conventions and exhibitions as linkages, mutually supporting development; strengthening the level of youth exchanges and co-operation by creating more opportunities for young people; learning from the experiences of Beijing to promote the exchange of public officials and co-operation in the field of technological research and innovation in higher education institutions; actively participating in Beijing events and contributing to Macao.
Cai Qi also pointed out that the annual exchange and co-operation between the two cities had increased from 17 to 22. He also highlighted the youth exchanges that have been growing through the strengthening of friendship. In addition, last year the 'Macao-Beijing Cooperation Partnership' was fashioned, creating new ideas and opportunities, which he believes will contribute to greater success this year.
The International Conference on Belt and Road and Macao's Development jointly organised by the Policy Research Office of the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region, the Macao Foundation, and the Grand Thought Think Tank, was held on 8th and 9th June. Former top ranking officials from countries such as China, Portugal, Thailand, Brazil domestic and international business leaders, leaders of overseas Chinese communities, experts and scholars in relevant areas from the Mainland, Hong Kong and overseas, and several local representatives delivered speeches.
Upholding the Silk Road Spirit represented by 'peace and co-operation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit', the Conference seeks social consensus to explore how to better plan and accelerate Macao's participation in the construction of the Belt and Road, and how to achieve a win-win outcome - contributing to the country and developing Macao herself, with the consideration of 'what the country needs, what Macao is good at'.
Under the theme of Belt and Road and Macao's Development, the event provided an exchange platform for attendees to have in-depth discussions in four sessions addressing Constructing the Belt and Road Initiative with Provinces of Guangdong and Fujian; The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Southeast Asia and the Maritime Silk Road; Constructing the Belt and Road Initiative with Portuguese-speaking Countries; Assisting the Belt and Road Initiative through Social Exchange and Connections.
Delivering his speech at the opening ceremony of the conference, the Chief Executive Chui Sai On called for the Macao public to make further contributions to the development of the “Belt and Road" initiative, saying it would be a fresh driving force for boosting socio-economic development and social wellbeing in Macao. Officiating guest speakers at the “International Conference on Belt and Road and Macao's Development" also suggested Macao grasp opportunities arising from the “Belt and Road" initiative, as a route to advancing the city's development.
Guest speakers included Honorary President of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, President of the China Public Diplomacy Association, and former minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Li Zhaoxing, China's Assistant Minister of Commerce, Wang Bingnan, the Chairman of International Strategic Council of Mota-Engil for Latin America and Africa, and former deputy prime minister and former minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, Paulo Portas, along with the Chairman of the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council and former deputy prime minister and former minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Surakiart Sathirathai, among others.
Prior to the opening ceremony, Chui Sai On and guests toured a photography exhibition to gain a better understanding of Macao's participation in and support of the “Belt and Road" initiative.