HONG KONG, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The "one country, two systems" framework implemented in China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in the the past 20 years is "working reasonably well" and benefiting Hong Kong, U.S. Consul General to the Hong Kong and Macao SARs Kurt Tong said in a recent media interview.
"The unique form of governance that is exercised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has been largely successful. China, the United States, and other nations - most importantly, the people of Hong Kong - continue to benefit from the unique 'one country, two systems' framework," Tong said in the interview ahead of the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China.
The "one country, two systems" framework "allows Hong Kong to be special and different while still being part of China," Tong said, adding that the people of Hong Kong are "prosperous" due to Hong Kong's "specialness."
Hong Kong ranked first again this year in the International Institute for Management and Development's world competitiveness index. Tong attributed Hong Kong's competitiveness, including its status as a global financial center and its role as a major regional provider for professional services such as accounting, deal-making, consulting and legal services, to "the high degree of autonomy" it enjoys under the "one country, two systems" framework.
Tong said he saw good reasons for Hong Kong's appeal to investors and traders. "Hong Kong has rule of law, stable and transparent financial markets, a stable and fully convertible currency, and steady and large fiscal surpluses," he said, adding that Hong Kong is also known for its fine standard of living, great culture, awesome food, and the world's longest life expectancy.
To China, Hong Kong has been playing the role of a "vital economic bridge between China and the rest of the global economy" and "contributing mightily" to China's efforts to upgrade its economy. To the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong continues to serve as a "pivotal nexus for regional commercial activity," Tong said, adding that for the United States, Hong Kong is a "useful location for U.S. companies to base their regional operations," as well as an "outpost" for U.S. companies to access the Chinese market.
"When one strolls down the street from our consulate, one could be forgiven for thinking that it is actually Wall Street. Indeed, all the big U.S. financial firms are prominently represented in Hong Kong's Central District high rises."
On the future cooperation between the United States and China's Hong Kong, Tong pointed out that under the Belt and Road Initiative, demands for infrastructure development in emerging economies are "self-evident."
"We know that Hong Kong wants to be a leading platform for financing in Belt and Road... U.S. firms can add real value in both engineering and financing. We see real opportunities for partnership here."
Hong Kong's commitment to the rule of law, its transparency, its openness, and its high degree of autonomy under the "one country, two systems" framework are the key drivers behind its well-deserved reputation as a leading center for global finance and trade, he said.
Besides being a global financial and trade center, Hong Kong is also regarded by Tong as "a great place to call home."