SINGAPORE — Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday (1 July) congratulated China's President Xi Jinping on the 25th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to the mainland and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).
“The Hong Kong SAR has benefitted from and contributed to mainland China’s growth and development under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework. With the support of the central government, I am confident Hong Kong will continue to thrive in the years ahead, and benefit from the many economic opportunities created by its close integration with the mainland,” said Lee in a media statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Singapore enjoys close relations with both Hong Kong and mainland China, with cooperation continually progressing on government-to-government and state-level projects such as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), Lee added.
“I am confident that Singapore and China will maintain the strong momentum in our bilateral relations. Singapore looks forward to continue working with Hong Kong to create new opportunities for our peoples and enhance the vibrancy of our region.”
His comments come as Xi visited Hong Kong over Thursday and Friday to mark the anniversary.
On Friday, Xi defended the "one, country two systems" principle guiding China’s governance of Hong Kong after the UK returned the territory to the mainland in 1997.
"’One country two systems' has been tested and proved time and again, and there is no reason to change such a good system," said Xi to applause from an audience, most of whom are the city's pro-Beijing elite, according to a report by the BBC.
While the principle is enshrined in law in Hong Kong, many people in the city have expressed concerns about the erosion of their fundamental freedoms as agreed upon by China and the UK previously.
The UK and other countries have criticised China for its interference in Hong Kong's affairs and the violation of the principle in recent years, such as the passing of a national security law to curb free speech in the territory in 2020.
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