Following is the speech by the Deputy Secretary for Justice, Mr Cheung Kwok-kwan, at the reception of 93rd National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, today (September 22):
Consul General, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening. It is my great pleasure to join you to celebrate the 93rd National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
On behalf of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, I extend to you, Consul General, and the people of Saudi Arabia, our warmest congratulations.
I had the great pleasure of visiting Saudi Arabia earlier this year and enjoying the wonderful Saudi hospitality. It was a very memorable and fruitful trip.
Our official visit back in February was led by our Chief Executive and included a high-level business delegation. It helped set Hong Kong's relations with Saudi Arabia, and indeed the wider Middle East region, on a new and exciting growth track.
Saudi Arabia is also an important link in the far-reaching Belt & Road Initiative. Last week, we held the 8th Belt and Road Summit, which included, for the first time, a special session on Middle East opportunities, and a speech by a distinguished speaker from Saudi Arabia. A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed to strengthen the commercial and economic ties between Hong Kong and the Middle East.
We are also very pleased that Saudi Arabia's Future Investment Initiative Institute will host its first PRIORITY Asia Summit in our city this December. We are honoured to be the first place in Asia to host this annual flagship event for the Middle East.
In 2022, Saudi Arabia ranked our second-largest trading partner in the Gulf Cooperation Council. On the legal front, I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight our city's advantages as an international legal and dispute resolution hub. In particular, Hong Kong's tried and tested common law system provides a solid platform for business and investment in and through Hong Kong.
But our focus is not just on commercial relations. We also welcome more cultural collaborations with our Saudi friends.
I am pleased to know that, with support from the Consulate-General in Hong Kong, Saudi traditions, customs and cultural artefacts will be featured in the 2023 edition of the "Asian Ethnic Cultural Performances" event to be held in November.
And I know that sports fans are looking forward to watching some of the world's best women golfers in action when the Aramco Team Series makes its debut at the Hong Kong Golf Club next month.
Whether through business and finance, or arts, culture and sports, we highly value people-to-people exchanges with our Saudi friends.
As we celebrate your National Day, I sincerely wish the people of Saudi Arabia a happy, peaceful and prosperous year ahead.
Please join me in a toast: "To the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia".
Ends/Friday, September 22, 2023