ZHUHAI, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge at a launch ceremony in the city of Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, on Tuesday morning.
On behalf of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, expressed sincere thanks and warm greetings to those who participated in the design, building, and management of the bridge.
Han Zheng, vice premier and member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, addressed the opening ceremony, which was held at a hall of the Zhuhai Port.
The 55-km bridge, situated in the waters of Lingdingyang of Pearl River Estuary, connects the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Zhuhai and the Macao SAR. The bridge is the first of its kind for Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao to jointly build a supergiant sea-crossing traffic project under the principle of "one country, two systems."
At 9:30 a.m., Xi was greeted at the hall by a standing ovation amid joyful music.
After watching a video on the building of the bridge, Li Xi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee, Carrie Lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong SAR, Chui Sai On, chief executive of the Macao SAR, and Han Zheng delivered speeches respectively.
At about 10 a.m., Xi walked up to the podium and announced the opening of the bridge. After the ceremony, Xi rode in a vehicle to tour and inspect the bridge.
During the inspection, Xi ascended on a platform to overlook the bridge at the east artificial island, which is a key part of the bridge.
The bridge is a national project. "You participated in the design, building, and maintenance of the bridge, gave full play to your talents and wisdom, and accomplished the tasks with good quality and quantity," Xi said, adding that he is proud of such achievements.
Praising builders of the bridge for breaking a number of world records, Xi said they demonstrate the nation's spirit of striving to overcome any difficulties, the national strength, the innovative ability, and the aspiration to be the world's best.
"With the bridge, we have further enhanced our confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics," Xi said.
The bridge should not only be structurally sound but also well managed, in a bid to contribute to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, he said.
The bridge will help improve personnel and trade exchanges among Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao, benefit the development of the area, and enhance the comprehensive competitiveness of the Pearl River Delta, Han said.
He stressed that the bridge is important for supporting Hong Kong and Macao in integrating their own development into the overall development of the country, and fully advancing mutually beneficial cooperation among the mainland, Hong Kong, and Macao.
The construction of the bridge began on Dec. 15, 2009, and its main structure was completed on July 7, 2017.
The bridge will officially open to traffic at 9 a.m. on Oct. 24.