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CE interprets remarks as hints for economic diversification: Xi prompts Macau to break through “constraints”

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image Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meets with CY Leung and Chui Sai On

The new Chinese president, Xi Jinping, yesterday urged Macau to make use of the current favorable conditions in the territory to “resolve some of the outstanding problems constraining the development of Macau.” Chief Executive Fernando Chui interpreted the president’s remarks as the central government’s reminder to the SAR of the importance of economic diversification.
Xi met Macau and Hong Kong’s chief executives, Fernando Chui and CY Leung, who were visiting Beijing for the closing meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) that voted to confirm Xi and Li as core leaders of the central government.
During the collective meeting with the two CEs, Xi said: “Macau is currently at a relatively good phase of development in its history. There are challenges ahead in its future development. We hope the SAR government and different walks of society can use the favorable conditions and timing currently available to them, to study and resolve some of the outstanding problems constraining its development. Macau has to improve its sense of urgency and lay a solid foundation for its long-term development.”
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Chui interpreted the message as a prompt for further economic diversification. “It’s a manifestation of the central government’s support and concern for the SARs, and a reminder to Macau to think of the unexpected, and to unite the whole society to coordinate the government’s economic diversification.”
While admitting the importance of economic diversification, he did not comment on reports that the new leadership is tightening its grip on the city’s gaming industry to prevent mainland officials and businessmen from using the casinos that Macau heavily relies on as tax income, as a platform for money-laundering.
Talking about Xi’s message, Macau’s NPC deputies said the mainland’s cooperation plays an important role. Jose Chui Sai Peng, who is also a Macau legislator, told TDM that regional cooperation is very important when Macau is devising ways to resolve the problems hindering its development.
“Regional cooperation issues, such as regional trading and cross-boundary arrangements are major topics in this respect. The main policies and directions are there, but the most challenging task is how to implement and realize them.”
During his meeting with Chui and Leung, the new Chinese president also talked about his “Chinese Dream”. According to the official Xinhua news agency, Xi told the two chief executives that the fate of the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macau are closely linked. “Mutual development and synergy (between SARs and the mainland) are needed to achieve the Chinese dream, which is the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” Xi was quoted as saying.
According to the agency, Xi also fully endorsed their work and that of their respective governments. Talking about Macau’s role in the “Chinese Dream”, Macau NPC deputies said as part of the country, Macau also has the obligation to support the initiative, and the deputies said they had high expectations of the new leader on the road to realizing the dream.
On a separate occasion, the Chinese PM Li Keqiang also met Chui and Leung together in Bejing yesterday, and stressed the importance of the two SARs in the country’s development. Li reiterated the central government’s established policy in strict compliance with the Basic Law and the “one-country-two-systems” principle in its support of the SARs.
Li promised that the central government would do its best to ensure its actions are beneficial to the stability and prosperity of the SARs. But he also reminded the two CEs to “further unite the SAR government and the general public”, to reach consensus and exert collective efforts in accomplishing their development and meeting the challenges ahead.
As a conclusion of their works in Beijing and after returning to Macau, the Macau NPC deputy delegation said yesterday that they fully discharged their duties by participating in all the meetings and conferences, during which they made 69 proposals related to the development of Hengqin, further cooperation with Guangdong, an extended cross-boundary system, and other concerns related to people’s livelihood. 

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