|Speech by Commissioner Wan Yongxiang at the Buffet Dinner Reception (16 December 2002)|
Directors, Editors-in-Chief, Journalists,
Friends from the Press,
On the eve of the memorable event marking the third anniversary of Macao's return to China, my colleagues and I are very pleased to be with you, our Macao journalistic friends, here tonight in a joyful gathering. First of all, please allow me to extend our warm welcome to all our friends present here and also express our sincere thanks to you all for your strong support and assistance in the past three years.
Although Deputy Commissioner Wu Hongbo and I came here just a few months ago, this city has already left a deep and pleasant impression on us. Although small in its land space and population, Macao presents itself as a unique oriental city with fine combination of east and west characteristics. The warm and hospitable local residents here have made us feel very much at home. Here in Macao, the traditional Chinese culture coexists harmoniously with the Latin culture, with each shining more brightly in the other's company, and the diligent local people are working hard in their united strive forward. We are especially pleased to see that since Macao's return to China three years ago, the Macao SAR Government, headed by Chief Executive Ho Hau Wah, has firmly implemented the principles of "one country, two systems" , and the provisions of the Basic Law, led Macao residents forward in a pioneering spirit and thus scored remarkable achievements of which we are very proud. Now, Macao enjoys good public order and economic growth, and it's local residents live and work in a favorable environment. The Macao SAR Government is now making active efforts to extend its external relations with the outside world and to expand its exchanges and cooperation with countries and regions in such fields as trade, economy and culture. With their excellent capability in administrating Macao, our Macao compatriots are now presenting to the world a stable, harmonious, developing and open new Macao.
The Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Macao Special Administrative Region was officially inaugurated on the very joyful day when Macao returned to the motherland. Since then, we have always firmly supported the Macao SAR government in administrating Macao according to the Basic Law and handled foreign affairs affecting the SAR with circumspection. We have worked in close cooperation with the SAR Government to expand its external exchanges and cooperation, offered active assistance to the SAR in its participation in relevant international organizations and conferences, provided consular protection and services to Macao compatriots overseas, and introduced the new image of changing Macao to the world. According to incomplete statistics, during the past three years, we have assisted representatives of the SAR to participate, as members of the Chinese Government delegation, in nearly 50 international conferences, to attend, in the name of "Macao, China", over 30 international conferences, and to participate in more than 40 international activities. We have transmitted to the SAR 28 UN Security Council resolutions on sanctions and consulted the SAR Government about the application of 24 international conventions to the SAR. We have helped the SAR Government to submit reports on the implementation of conventions to relevant international organizations. We have completed the procedure for authorizing the SAR Government to negotiate, conclude or amend civil aviation agreements with 27 countries, to conclude investment protection and judicial assistance agreements with Portugal, and to negotiate and conclude the investment protection agreement with the Netherlands. We have assisted the SAR to transmit, through diplomatic channel, more than 60 judicial assistance requests. We have handled more than 400 consular cases and 24 overseas consular protection cases related to the SAR. We have also attached great importance to promoting Macao SAR passports and travel documents to other countries and cooperated closely with the SAR Government in joint efforts to make Macao residents' overseas travel more convenient. At present, 40 countries have granted visa-free treatments to Macao SAR passport holders. After the September 11 Incident in the US, we have taken concrete measures to strengthen our consular protection and relevant services to Macao compatriots overseas. All of these work cannot be done without the warm assistance and support of the Macao SAR Government and our Macao friends. I would like to take this opportunity to express again our profound appreciations to Chief Executive Ho Hau Wah, the Macao SAR Government, and people from all walks of life in Macao.
Friends, the new year is coming soon. The Commissioner's Office shall continue in the new year to implement strictly the principle of "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law, consolidate and develop our good relations and cooperation with the SAR Government. We shall handle properly foreign affairs matters affecting the SAR in a flexible and pragmatic way and with the spirit of "go abreast with the times", and work hard to create more favourable conditions for SAR Government to develop its external relations with the outside world. We are also ready to further enhance our communication and cooperation with the Macao press so that we can work together for the future stability, development and prosperity of the Macao SAR.
Now, may I propose a toast
to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,
to the third anniversary of the establishment of the Macao SAR and its brilliant future,
to the vigorous development of Macao journalistic profession,
to the health of all friends present here
and a happy new year to you all.
Thank you all.