Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On Monday underlined the importance of patriotism and national security in his New Year’s address.

In the speech, Chui said that all sectors of civil society should remain united and promote the traditional values of loving the country and loving Macau. He also pointed out that the setting-up of the Commission on the Defence of National Security by his government last year further improved Macau’s national security system and mechanism.

Chui, whose second and constitutionally final consecutive five-year term comes to an end on December 19 this year, also said that the protection of residents’ life and property continued to be the top priority of his governance, promising that Macau will be “more proactive” in participating in the establishment of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the central authorities’ Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

He also said that the local government would also this year be guided by the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and also strengthen its efforts to consolidate Macau’s position as a world centre of tourism and leisure as well as a service platform for trade and economic cooperation between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries, a key policy known as “one centre, one platform”.

Chui emphasised that this year will mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the 20th anniversary of Macau’s return to the motherland, two events which he described as a “crucial phase” for the whole nation.

The chief executive also underlined Macau’s stability and prosperity in 2018, such as its “solid” public finances, growing economy, low unemployment rate and the population’s improved living conditions and well-being.

Meanwhile, Fu Ziying, the newly appointed director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Macau, noted in his New Year’s address that the Chinese people have created a miracle through the nation’s reform and opening-up policy over the past four decades.

Fu stressed that President Xi Jinping has pointed out that Hong Kong and Macau will continue to play an “irreplaceable” role in the nation’s reform and opening-up drive in the years to come.

According to Fu, the key to promoting Macau’s prosperity and stable development is to have a deep understanding of its role in the new era’s reform and opening-up policy, and also to better adhere to the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” and to make good use of its benefits.

Fu, a former vice-minister of the Ministry of Commerce and accountant by profession holding a PhD in economics, also urged Macau to proactively integrate itself into the overall situation of national development. He also praised Macau for its “glorious tradition of patriotism” and underlined Macau’s active participation in the GBA and BRI projects.

Fu, who held the important position of China International Trade Representative until his recent posting to Macau, also called for Macau to speed up the pace of diversifying its economy.

Shen Beili, who heads the Commission of the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Macau,also  reaffirmed in her New Year’s speech the central government’s stance of “resolutely” opposing any interference by external forces in Macau’s internal affairs.

Shen, who was posted to Macau last year, also reiterated the central government’s position of “strictly rebutting” foreign countries’ annual reports on human rights and human trafficking for “ignoring the facts of Macau’s internal affairs”.

Shen, a former director-general of the International Department of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee, also said that her office was determined to continue to assist Macau in the development of its external relations and its participation in the GBA and BRI projects.

Shen also underlined President Xi Jinping’s recent reaffirmation of Macau’s “irreplaceable” role in the nation’s ongoing reform and opening-up policy.