– Belt-Road white paper welcomed


Chief Executive John Lee

Peace and Prosperity on the Belt & Road is the resonating theme of today’s conference. I am grateful to CM Chan, President of the Law Society of Hong Kong, for his considered address on today’s theme and the critical role of law in ensuring peace and prosperity.


President Xi Jinping attaches great importance to peace and prosperity, right from when he personally introduced the concept of developing the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century in 2013.


In his address at the inaugural Belt & Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, in 2017, President Xi said, and I quote, “the pursuit of the Belt & Road Initiative requires a peaceful and stable environment.” And, he added, “we should build the Belt & Road into a road of prosperity. Development holds the master key to solving all problems.”


Just yesterday, the central authorities published a white paper titled “The Belt and Road Initiative: A Key Pillar of the Global Community of Shared Future”. As detailed by the paper, the Belt & Road Initiative has contributed to the sound development of economic globalisation, and helped to resolve global development challenges and improve the global governance system.


The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government welcomes and fully supports this all-encompassing white paper. Hong Kong continues to contribute to the efforts of building a global community of shared future under the initiative, contributing to furthering the Belt & Road Initiative’s cause in promoting peace and prosperity.


Under the “one country, two systems” principle, Hong Kong practises the common law, and that makes Hong Kong the only such jurisdiction in China.


We are a centre for international legal and dispute resolution services, boasting a vibrant pool of legal talent. Together, they provide professional services for corporate investment and deal-making, as well as dispute resolution. These strengths – and they are internationally recognised – give Hong Kong enviable tools for settling conflicts peacefully.


Alongside our long-established judiciary, which exercises its judicial power independently, Hong Kong is constantly ranked among the world’s most preferred seats for arbitration.


And, let me add, the International Organization for Mediation Preparatory Office was set up in Hong Kong in February. It is the first multilateral organisation dedicated to providing mediation services for settling international disputes. And that, ladies and gentlemen, will contribute significantly to international relations built on peace and harmony. Hong Kong is committed to promoting the use of mediation for resolving international conflicts in an amicable manner, and we will do our utmost to support the office’s work here.


The National 14th Five-Year Plan supports Hong Kong’s continued development as a centre for international legal and dispute-resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region.


Our recognised prowess will ensure Hong Kong’s pivotal role as a value-added gateway of the Belt & Road. It will, as well, consolidate our status as a global city contributing to the prosperity and development of the Belt & Road.


The Steering Group on Integration into National Development, which I chair, was set up last year to enhance Hong Kong’s integration into national development. Supported by three secretaries of departments as my deputies, this new leadership structure ensures the most effective use of Hong Kong’s advantages to seize, and sustain, the opportunities arising from national development. And that, of course, includes the Belt & Road Initiative.


Last month, more than 6,000 senior government officials and business leaders from Belt & Road countries took part in the eighth Belt & Road Summit in Hong Kong. Its theme, Prospering on a Decade of Collaboration, just like the theme today, tells us that Hong Kong has a clear and compelling role to play in helping to realise peace and prosperity throughout the Belt & Road.


I am pleased to note that the number of foreign officials attending, and the memorandum of understandings exchanged at the summit, was the largest this year, showcasing our determination to promote international co-operation under the Belt & Road Initiative.


My thanks to the Law Society of Hong Kong for once again organising this essential gathering, for putting a welcome spotlight on the rule of law, and our valued legal sector, in pursuing the far-reaching promise of the Belt & Road Initiative.


Chief Executive John Lee gave these remarks on October 11 at the Law Society of Hong Kong’s International Summit 2023 in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Belt & Road Initiative.


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