Russia Message from Consul General
GREETINGS FROM THE CONSUL GENERAL OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION IN THE HONG KONG SAR AND MACAO SAR TO THE READERS OF THE "International Link Magazine"
俄羅斯聯邦駐香港總領事 Vladimir A. Kalinin 獻辭
It gives me great pleasure to address the readers of "International Link Magazine " newspaper on the occasion of the National Day of Russia. This red-letter day is celebrated on June 12 in commemoration of the adoption in 1990 of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Russian Federation. Over these last years Russia has gone through dramatic transformations and became a strong nation with stable political, economic and social structure, which provides the necessary foundation for its successful development in all spheres and the most efficient use of our rich human and natural resources.
The Russian Federation is conducting a well-balanced foreign policy aimed at creating favourable conditions for its comprehensive development and modernization to secure the deserved place in the new, multipolar global architecture of international relations. The very fact that in 2013-2015 the Russian Federation holds presidency of G20, G8, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS is a good manifestation of the multiple-vector character of Russia’s foreign policy and its active stand in international affairs.
Since Russia is a Pacific Power, the development and strengthening of our ties with the states and organizations of the Asia-Pacific region is one of our main priorities, the People's Republic of China being our crucial partner. The recent visit of the President of the People's Republic of China Mr. Xi Jinping to Russia has become a most significant factor, which created a very favourable atmosphere for the further promotion of bilateral contacts, expansion of trade and investment, deepening of cultural ties.
Today we have every reason to assert that our relations with Hong Kong SAR, which we regard in the general context of Russia’s strategic partnership with PRC, have strengthened over the past period. It is worth noting that there is a close and dynamic interaction between Russia and Hong Kong within the framework of the APEC. In September last year a Hong Kong SAR official delegation headed by a Financial Secretary Mr. John Tsang took part in the APEC Summit in Vladivostok which resulted in a Final Declaration that included principles of close partnership and further development for the APEC economies.
It is also encouraging that the bilateral trade between Russia and Hong Kong last year for the first time exceeded 3,2 billion US dollars and Russia made a step up from 28th position to 26th among 30 main trade partners of Hong Kong SAR. It is well known that recent years were full of uncertainties for the world economy, affecting Russia as well. Nevertheless, the overall outlook of the economic prospects in our country is quite positive. This could be well illustrated by a constant interest towards Russian markets by foreign investors, including Hong Kong business circles. The growing interest of Hong Kong business community was once again demonstrated during a roundtable “Country briefing series: Russia”, which was held here recently by the HK General Chamber of Commerce.
I am glad to point out that we managed to strengthen further the legal basis of our relations with Hong Kong SAR. Hopefully we will be able to finalize by the end of this year a number of important bilateral agreements including an agreement on avoidance of double taxation, an agreement on mutual protection and promotion of investments, an agreement on mutual legal assistance, etc.
It is important to note that today not only the political and economic ties between Russia and Hong Kong are strengthening but the cultural exchanges as well. The most recent examples are: a unique exhibition in Hong Kong “Treasures of Faberge”, arrival to Hong Kong of the world's biggest Russian sailing vessel “Sedov” and a bright music performance, given by Yuri Bashmet, one of the distinguished viola players of the modern age.
We believe that one of the most promising areas of cooperation remains the sphere of tourism. After signing a Visa free Agreement the tourist exchanges between Russia and Hong Kong have been growing from year to year. Last year more than 186 thousand Russian citizens visited Hong Kong and Russia welcomed around 17 thousand visitors from Hong Kong. Whether one is looking for ancient history and quiet old towns or extreme sports and bustle of modern cities – he or she would surely find it in our country. So, why not visit the country personally to see all the places of interest and feel the dynamism and energy of new developing Russia especially during the current year - the Year of Chinese Tourism in Russia. And it gives me a pleasure to invite honkongers to make more journeys to Russia, travel by comfortable cruise-ships along our beautiful Volga-river, visit not only Moscow and Saint-Petersburg but also beautiful places in the Far East and Siberia. Moreover, in February 2014 Russia will host the XXII Olympic Winter Games so the visitors would have a good opportunity to combine supporting HK sport team with an unforgettable experience of travelling across our country.
Summing up may I express confidence that the fruitful cooperation between Russia and Hong Kong SAR in different spheres will gain new momentum in the years to come especially with the new leadership in place after the elections in both Russia and Hong Kong SAR.
Taking this opportunity I would like to extend my best regards to all readers of the "International Link Magazine" wishing prosperity, health and happiness.
Vladimir A. KALININ
Consul General of the Russian Federation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China
俄羅斯聯邦駐香港總領事 Vladimir A. Kalinin 獻辭
還有值得重視的是，時至今日，俄羅斯與香港不單在政治和經濟的連繫正在增強，而文化交流方面也是如此。最近的例子包括：在香港舉行了「法貝熱 – 俄羅斯宮廷珍寶展」、世界最大的俄羅斯古帆船《謝多夫號》訪港以及當代最傑出的中提琴家之一的尤里‧巴什梅特普樂表演會等。