Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has ruled out the possibility of having separate checkpoints for the high speed rail project in both Hong Kong and China.
Leung said he has noticed comments suggesting that the government should accept a measure for separate checkpoints, while in the meantime considering the possibility of a joint Hong Kong-mainland checkpoint at the West Kowloon terminus.
“In the majority of mainland cities with high speed rail connections, there are no customs or immigration facilities in the stations, therefore it is completely unfeasible to have separate checkpoints in these cities,” Leung said ahead of the regular meeting of the Executive Council on Tuesday.
Leung said that the government was confident it will achieve a joint checkpoint – or co-location – agreement under the principles of “one country, two systems”, “Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong” and “high degree of autonomy.”
“Joint checkpoint agreements are exercised in foreign countries, and neither one of the two countries would say that it affects the countries’ sovereignty; hence in the context of inside one country and between the two systems, we are confident in solving the related legal problems,” Leung said.
He also said that it was important to Hong Kong’s future to build a high speed rail system to connect to the mainland.
Previously, the Secretary of Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said that the government is studying whether there is a need to incorporate relevant mainland Chinese laws into Annex III of the Basic Law in order to allow the joint checkpoint arrangement.
Lawmakers have said that the measure, if adopted, would be against the Basic Law and harm the “one country, two systems” principle.
On Monday, Yuen further clarified that the measure was not the only choice on the table, and that it was too soon to make a decision on whether it would contravene the Basic Law.