Cross-boundary Infrastructure Projects
(4) The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link: Our country is now building a high-speed national rail network of some 12 000 kilometres to link up major cities, with maximum train speeds of 200 to 300 kilometres per hour. The network will substantially enhance the Mainland's transport capacity. To seize the opportunities, we are pressing ahead with the building of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link running from West Kowloon to Shibi, Guangzhou. When running in Hong Kong, this Express Rail Link will use a dedicated line to ensure its smooth operation. We will actively study the provision of a common immigration and customs clearance system for Hong Kong and the Mainland at the Kowloon Terminal. Our target is to complete the planning and design processes within next year, so that construction will commence in 2009.
(5) Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge: The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is a priority project. As a major strategic cross-boundary project, it is unprecedented in terms of scope, scale and complexity. The efforts made by the three governments involved are gradually bearing fruit. We have completed the engineering feasibility studies for over 20 project items. A remaining task is to finalise the financial arrangements. We aim to complete the financial arrangements in the near future and convene an expert group meeting to scrutinise the report. This will serve as the basis for discussion over specific investment and financing arrangements by the three governments at the next stage.
We have also made much effort on site investigation of the connecting roads in Hong Kong. Following the principle of "separate locations of boundary crossing facilities" agreed by the three parties, we have commenced the site selection study in Hong Kong and are collecting public views. I hope that we will have your support.
(6) Hong Kong-Shenzhen Airport Co-operation: The HKIA and Shenzhen Airport are two major airports in the PRD region. The HKIA ranks among the busiest international airports in the world in terms of both passenger and cargo traffic, while Shenzhen Airport handles far more domestic flights than Hong Kong. For the two airports to fully complement each other and achieve a win-win situation, it is necessary to study the feasibility and economic benefits of establishing a rail connection between the two. Currently, high-speed ferry services ply between the two airports. A rail link can forge even closer ties. I am glad that the Shenzhen Municipal Government strongly supports the proposals on further co-operation between the two airports. To follow up, the two governments will form a joint task force. The Airport Authority will provide research support to the task force. We hope that specific work plans can be drawn up early next year.
(7) Hong Kong-Shenzhen Joint Development of the Lok Ma Chau Loop: As neighbours, Hong Kong and Shenzhen can achieve a win-win situation for both sides by adopting an integrated regional development strategy. Apart from enhancing cross-boundary transport links, we will work with the Shenzhen authorities to tap the land resources of the Lok Ma Chau Loop to meet future development needs and consolidate the strategic position of Shenzhen and Hong Kong in the Pan-PRD region. For this purpose, we will establish a high-level co-ordinating mechanism. We will jointly explore the feasibility of developing the Lok Ma Chau Loop to our mutual benefit, and steer further research and planning work on other cross-boundary issues.