HONG KONG, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong Chief Executive C Y Leung said in a speech on Tuesday that Hong Kong should treasure its economic success which has not come easily and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government will strive to advance constitutional reform.
Leung made the remarks at the reception in celebration of the 17th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center.
Leung said Hong Kong's economic growth over the past 17 years has underpinned its social development, adding if there had been no rise in corporate, personal, and government incomes, people's livelihood could not have been improved.
Total government expenditure in the current financial year is 111.5 percent more than that in 1997/98. The SAR government will continue to promote Hong Kong's economic development vigorously with a view of improving the lives of the people.
Another major task of the current-term government, Leung said, is to advance constitutional reform. It is the common aspiration of the central government, the SAR government and the general public of Hong Kong to successfully implement universal suffrage for the chief executive election in 2017.
Leung stressed that Hong Kong's constitutional development must comply with the Basic Law and the relevant Interpretation and Decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. The Basic Law is the constitutional basis for Hong Kong. Before it was adopted and promulgated 24 years ago, extensive and in-depth consultation had been conducted in Hong Kong for as long as five years on the various issues involved, including Hong Kong' s political structure and universal suffrage.
"The political structure model and the relevant provisions, as well as the principles for our constitutional development, finally laid down in the Basic Law are in line with Hong Kong's legal status and the overall long-term interest of Hong Kong," he added.
The third major task of the government is to promote constructive interaction and co-development between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland.
The mainland is the largest source of inward direct investment for Hong Kong, which in turn is the mainland's largest source of foreign direct investment.
In the past two years, with the support and understanding of the central government and mainland provinces and cities, the SAR government tackled a number of issues, including multiple-entry permits to non-residents of Shenzhen, purchase of Hong Kong property by mainlanders, pregnant mainland mothers whose husbands are not Hong Kong residents giving birth in Hong Kong, as well as parallel trading.
"I believe that if we try to understand each other and view things from one another's perspective, we can properly deal with problems that arise in the development of Hong Kong and the mainland, and give full play to the complementary and mutually beneficial nature of the relationship between the two places," he said.
"Only by maintaining Hong Kong's stability can we sustain our economic prosperity. Only by sustaining Hong Kong's prosperity can we improve people's livelihood," Leung said, adding he has full confidence that as long as all sectors and people from all walks of life in Hong Kong work together to capitalize on the valuable opportunities and unique advantages of the city, Hong Kong can make greater strides in economy, people's livelihood and political system.
A flag-raising ceremony was held before the reception in celebration of the anniversary.