Interview: High speed railway to contribute to Hong Kong, regional development: official

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-20 20:33:51|Editor: Li Xia
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BEIJING, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL), which is set to start operation on Sunday, will connect Hong Kong with high-speed railways on the Chinese mainland and promote regional development, according to a mainland official.

"The XRL project, put forward by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government in 1998, is a major cross-border infrastructure project between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong," Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said in an interview with Xinhua.

The Hong Kong section, which began construction in 2010, will offer direct services from Hong Kong to 44 mainland cities starting Sunday, ushering Hong Kong into the era of high-speed railways, Zhang noted.

The XRL trains will slash the time it takes to travel between Hong Kong and the mainland and improve people's lives, Zhang said, citing that citizens from Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, can take the trains to Hong Kong on a weekend morning for shopping, dining and entertainment and go back to Guangzhou the same night.

Border inspection procedures for the XRL are simplified, with exit-entry inspections by both sides being conducted at the Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, the terminus of the XRL.

"This is an important innovation for implementing the policy of 'one country, two systems' and serves as a good example for innovative cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao SARs," Zhang said.

Speaking of the influence of the XRL on the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Zhang said that greater connectivity of the infrastructure in this area is significant for building the area into a dynamic world-class bay area and city cluster, and therefore the XRL will surely benefit the development of the bay area.

He pointed out that the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, which is expected to begin operation soon, will also become a driving force for the growth of the bay area, especially for cities in the western Pearl River Delta.

The central authorities have issued a series of policies to support the development of Hong Kong and Macao and integrate their own development into the overall development of the country, Zhang said.

According to Zhang, the central authorities are mulling policies to advance cooperation in innovative technology and traditional Chinese medicine between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao, and reduce telecommunication fees in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao area.

"We noticed that the governments and people of Hong Kong and Macao SARs are looking forward to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and are actively participating in it," Zhang said. "We are fully confident in the prospects for the development of the bay area, the integration of Hong Kong and Macao into the overall development of the country and common development with the mainland."