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HK aiming high in Shanghai

2009. 2 July

( Shanghai officials say Hong Kong's participation in the 2010 World Expo is one of the most important areas of cooperation between the two cities.

The mainland's second city is to host the biggest-ever World Expo from May 1 to October 30 next year with the theme "better city, better life."

The comment was made after Chief Secretary for Administration Henry Tang Ying- yen and Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination deputy director Zhong Yangun completed the finishing touches to the foundation of the Hong Kong Pavilion.

The foundation was laid three days ahead of the 300-day countdown to the event.

The Hong Kong government has committed HK$346 million to the project and will showcase Hong Kong's features, connectivity with the mainland and the rest of the world, as well as smart card technology.

Tang also briefed the Shanghai city leaders about the project.

"There is a close relationship between Hong Kong and Shanghai. We have a lot of cooperation on various things," Shanghai Communist Party Secretary Yu Zhengsheng said.

Yu said security will be a challenge because of the large number of participants expected.

The mainland pavilion will be completed on July 20 and will stage a preview in February and March next year, according to Shanghai mayor Han Zheng.

"We will provide full support should the Hong Kong Pavilion need any help," Han said.

Meanwhile, the United States confirmed its participation despite not having access to public funds. The US pavilion will depend on private donations.

Tang also discussed with Shanghai leaders other opportunities for cooperation between the two cities. "Hong Kong airport can share experience in management and software with Shanghai Hongqiao airport."

Hongqiao airport's expansion will be completed early next year and it is expected to cater to 230 million visitors annually.

"Better railway and road networks linking the airport to other important cities such as Suzhou and Wuxi are to be built," Tang said.