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中英社評/申辦世界博覽會 展現香港新風采

借助舉辦大型活動走上世界舞台的例子早已不勝枚舉,2008年北京奧運會、2010年上海世界博覽會都曾成功提升兩個城市的國際美譽度,各項事業發展也躍上新台階。最近,香港通過舉行金融峰會等活動,宣告香港重新回到世界舞台的中心。《大公報》近日報道學者建議香港趁熱打鐵,聯手深圳申辦2035年世界博覽會,引起社會熱議,也得到行政長官李家超正面回應。機會難得,香港應該腳踏實地做起來,努力將理想變成現實。

世博會歷史悠久,規模宏大,展期長達半年,堪稱科技、創意、思想的舞台,其國際影響力可與奧運會並駕齊驅。2025年世博會在日本大阪舉辦,2030年世博會上月完成申辦工作,對香港來說,2035年世博會是一次機會。2035年距今還有13年,時間充裕,屆時香港北部都會區、明日大嶼計劃已有相當進展,創新科技產業進入收成期,共建粵港澳大灣區也應躍上新台階,世博會將展現「一國兩制」下香港的旺盛活力和大灣區的風采。

尤其值得一提的是,中國全面建成社會主義現代化強國,總的戰略分兩步走,2035年基本實現社會主義現代化,世博會堪稱說好「香港故事」、「中國故事」的最佳平台,這也是香港應該全力爭取的理據所在。

以香港的財力和國際地位,舉辦世博會沒有問題。前立法會議員張鑑泉多年前已有此倡議,但未受重視,不了了之,可見舉辦世博會不僅要有能力,更要有魄力、有視野、有承擔。今時不同往日,香港進入愛國者治港新時代,共建大灣區、融入國家發展大局成為香港前途之所繫。無論香港還是深圳以及大灣區,走進世界舞台中心需要有一個「抓手」,世博會就是這樣的一個抓手。在跨境合作方面,香港有舉辦2008年北京奧運會馬術比賽的經驗,而2025年的第十五屆全國運動會由粵港澳三方合辦,這將為合作提供更多經驗。

每一屆世博會都有鮮明的主題,擬議中的「港深世博會」可主打綠色和科技,這將成為香港作為國際金融中心之外的另一張閃亮名片,也可以凸顯深圳在創新科技方面的領先地位。港深邊境的河套區被視為舉辦世博會的理想地點。明日大嶼計劃填海所得到的土地,可以作為場館的另一個選擇。河套區位於北部都會區,大嶼山也是香港未來重點拓展區域,舉辦世博會,將成為促進兩大區域加快發展的催化劑。

行政長官李家超昨日被問及相關議題時表示,對此持開放態度,會留意不同地方和不同國際活動,讓香港有更多的機會,包括世博會。這個回應相當正面,反映出他一貫的務實作風。當然,既是與深圳合作舉辦世博會,特區政府應盡快同深圳方面聯絡,在中央有關方面指導協調下,成立專責小組共同推進是完全可行的。世博會競爭一向激烈,中央的支持不可或缺。有理由相信,只要條件成熟,中央一定樂觀其成並提供全力協助。

當我們暢想未來時,不會低估舉辦世博會的困難和挑戰。世上無難事,只怕有心人,任何事業都是幹出來、拚出來、奮鬥出來的。雖說申辦2035年世博會,時間還很長,但籌備需時,如果有此共識,現在就要着手,因為機會從來只會青睞有所準備的人。

Making a bid for the World Expo 2035 to show Hong Kong's new splendour

There are numerous precedents that a city could step up onto the world arena by hosting a large-scale activity. Beijing's hosting of the 2008 Summer Olympics and Shanghai's hosting of the World Expo 2010 successfully boosted both cities' international reputation, enabling them to move up onto a new stage of development in various aspects. In recent times, through holding events such as the Banking Conference 2022, Hong Kong declared that it has made a comeback to the centre of the world arena. As Ta Kung Pao lately reported, some academic suggested that Hong Kong strike while the iron is hot and team up with Shenzhen to bid for hosting the World Expo 2035, which has aroused heated discussion in society and received a positive response from Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu. It's now or never. Hong Kong must begin to act in a down-to-earth way and devote efforts to turn the idea into reality.

The World Expo has a long-standing history. Large in scale, the exposition is held for as long as half a year. It can be called a stage to show science and technology, creative ideas and thoughts. As such its international influence stays with that of the Olympic Games. The World Expo 2025 will be held in Osaka, Japan, and the period for biding to host the World Expo 2030 was closed last month. So for Hong Kong, the World Expo 2035 is an open opportunity. With still 13 years to go before the year 2035, there is ample time. By then, Hong Kong ought to have made considerable progress in the development of the Northern Metropolis and Lantau Tomorrow Vision, and its innovation and technology industry to have reached the harvest time, and co-construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) to have moved up another rung. Hence hosting a World Expo will show Hong Kong's exuberant vigour and the Greater Bay Area's slpendour.

Particularly noteworthy is that according to China's two-step strategy to comprehensively build itself into a socialist modern country, socialist modernisation will be basically realised by 2035. The World Expo [held in Hong Kong] then could be said the best platform to well tell the Hong Kong story and the China story. This is also the reason why Hong Kong should do all it can to win the bid.

Given Hong Kong's financial strength and international status, there should be no problem for it to host the World Expo. Stephen Cheong Kam-chuen, late member of the Legislative Council, had already initiated the idea years ago, which however drew little attention and ended up with nothing definite. From this it can be seen that to host the World Expo requires not only capability but also, and more importantly, courage, vision and commitment. Today is different from the past. Hong Kong has entered a new era of "patriots governing Hong Kong", and Hong Kong's future lies in the co-construction of the Greater Bay Area and its integration into the country's overall development. Either Hong Kong, Shenzhen or the Greater Bay Area needs a "grip" to walk into the centre of the world arena, and the World Expo proviades such a "grip". As for cross-boundary cooperation, Hong Kong already has the experience of hosting the equestrian competitions of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. And Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao will co-host the 15th National Games, which will provide more experience in such cooperation.

Each World Expo has a distinctive theme. The Hong Kong-Shenzhen World Expo in discussion could focus on green, science and technology. This will likely become Hong Kong's another shining name card beside an international financial hub, and also highlight Shenzhen's leading role in innovation and technology. The Lok Ma Chau Loop on border between Hong Kong and Shenzhen is seen as an ideal location to hold the World Expo. Land reclaimed under the Lantau Tomorrow Vision could be another location to build pavilions. The Lok Ma Chau Loop locates in the Northern Metropolis and Lantau is also another key area for Hong Kong's future development. Hosting the World Expo will become a catalyst to speed up the development of these two places.

When asked to comment on the proposal yesterday, Chief Executive John Lee said he had an open mind on it and would keep a close watch on various places and various international activities to find more opportunities for Hong Kong, including the World Expo. His response is quite positive and in line with his constant pragmatic style. Needless to say, since Hong Kong is to co-host the World Expo with Shenzhen, the SAR Government should liaise with Shenzhen authorities as soon as possible. With the guidance and coordination of relevant Central authorities, it is entirely feasible to set up a special task force to jointly push forward the project. Competition to host the World Expo is always fierce, and the Central Government's support is indispensable. There are reasons to believe that when conditions are ripe, the Central Government would be glad to see it happen and give its full support.

When we envisage the future, we do not underestimate the difficulties and challenges for hosting the World Expo. It is dogged as does it. All achievements are made by working hard, going all out and making arduous efforts. Although there is still a long time to go before biding for the World Expo starts, it is time consuming to make preparations. If consensus is reached we must begin to work on it. For, it is always the case that "chance favors the prepared mind".

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