HONG KONG, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Liaison Office of the Chinese Central People's Government in Hong Kong, on Thursday urged the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong to make concerted efforts to boost mutual respect and trust and deepen exchange and cooperation between the two regions.
Speaking at a Chinese New Year reception hosted by the Liaison Office in the evening, Zhang said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the mainland should respect each other's social systems, especially the political system adopted by the state body, on the premise of safeguarding state sovereignty, security and development interests.
"This is a necessary meaning of the 'one country, two systems' principle. It is also the solution to achieving long-term harmony and sound interaction between the Hong Kong SAR and the mainland," he told more than 4,000 attendees.
Zhang noted that it is necessary to correctly and comprehensively understand and implement the principle of "one country, two systems."
"To this point, we must safeguard state sovereignty, security and development interests while ensuring long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. That is to say, we must stay committed to keeping a balance between adhering to the 'one country' principle and respecting the differences of the 'two systems', between upholding the authority of the central government and ensuring a high degree of autonomy of the Hong Kong SAR, and between giving play to the role of the mainland as the staunch support of Hong Kong and increasing the city's competitiveness."
"So we should seek common ground over the 'one country' principle while reserving differences of the 'two systems'," he said.
The official said the relations between Hong Kong and the mainland have become increasingly close and exchange and cooperation continue to strengthen, which is in line with the trend of the times.
For a long time, Hong Kong has made significant and unique contributions to the country's reform and opening-up and modernization drive. Meanwhile, it has continuously gained development opportunities and momentum from the country's fast development and the policy support from the central government, Zhang said.
He also referred to what he called "minor accidental conflicts and frictions during the frequent exchange between people of the two regions."
"They surely don't reflect or represent the mainstream of the exchange and cooperation and increasingly close relations between the two regions."
"As long as we always treat them as they are in a reasonable and friendly manner without exaggerating them, so long as we don't say or do anything that hurts people's feelings, there is no problem which we can't solve properly," he added.
More than 4,000 people attended the reception. Among them were Tung Chee-hwa, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.
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