Beijing -Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday said that the central government will further advance policies for deepening cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong.
Li made the remarks at a press conference for his debut as the new Premier after the end of the annual session of China's top legislature.
Li said in response to a reporter from Hong Kong that he was deeply impressed by the fact that Hong Kong is full of vitality under the "One country, two systems" during his visit to Hong Kong in 2011.
"Hong Kong compatriots are hardworking and smart. Hong Kong society is open, inclusive and vigorous," Li said.
During his visit to Hong Kong in 2011, then Vice Premier Li Keqiang announced the central government's policies to support Hong Kong's prosperity and deepen the cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong.
Premier Li said the Hong Kong reporter's description of those policies as a big gift box was pretty figurative.
"To open this gift box and take the substantial gift into full and solid use, we need to work together, both the mainland and Hong Kong. Actually, some of the policies have already paid off and the central government will continue to do the best," Li said, stressing that there is great space for deepening cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong.
The central government will do its best to advance initiatives that will enhance the well-being of compatriots in Hong Kong and Macao, that will deepen cooperation between the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao, and that will contribute to long-term prosperity of Hong Kong and Macao, Li said.
Premier Li Keqiang also promised to tackle pollution and food safety problems with "iron fist and firm resolution."
"We will upgrade China's economic development model to enable people to enjoy clean air, safe drinking water and food," Li said shortly after the conclusion of the annual legislative session.
Li said he felt "upset" about the smog that recently shrouded Beijing and large parts of the country's eastern areas.
"To tackle the problems, we need iron fist, firm resolution and tough measures," said the 57-year-old premier while meeting the press for the first time after assuming the post.
Li was endorsed as the Chinese premier Friday at the first session of the 12th National People's Congress, the country's top legislature.