Political leaders in Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions predicate a bright outlook for 2018 – along with continuous and strong support from the nation.

Xi said he had personally seen that - with strong support from the motherland - Hong Kong had maintained its prosperity and stability

They made these remarks after President Xi Jinping delivered his New Year address to all Chinese compatriots on Sunday (Dec 31).

In his speech, Xi recalled his visit to the Hong Kong SAR during the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland.

Xi also praised the nearly-completed Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) - noting it reflected the considerable creativity of the Chinese people.

READ MORE: HK-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge will be ready by year's end

Xi’s remarks resonated well with people in Hong Kong and Macao and political leaders from both SARs said they shared his optimism.

Starry Lee Wai-king, the chairwoman of the largest political group in Hong Kong – the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong - said she was greatly encouraged by the president’s speech.

Lee said she was confident Hong Kong would overcome the challenges facing it in 2018.

Lee, who’s also a Hong Kong lawmaker, said she would spare no efforts in facilitating the local legislation for the joint checkpoint arrangement at the West Kowloon Station. This is to ensure the opening of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) in the third quarter of 2018.

She believes the XRL as well as the HZMB would help the HKSAR become better integrated into the country’s overall development. It would also mean Hong Kong people could have more exchanges and career opportunities on the mainland.

Taking pride in China’s achievements is what moved Eddy Li Sau-hung most after hearing President Xi’s speech.

Li, who is president of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Association, said there were indeed many things to be proud of. They included China’s economic prowess, its leading role in innovation and pioneering applications of technological advances to improve its people’s quality of life, he noted.

Li said he was also impressed by the nation’s open, multilateral approach when collaborating with other countries and regions through the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian InfrastructureInvestment Bank. He said these were all components of the country’s on-going contribution to world peace and prosperity.

“We in the HKSAR are proud of our country and of being Chinese,” Li added.

This Nov 16, 2017 photo shows construction workers working on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. (PHOTO BY ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY)

Macao SAR Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on, in his New Year message released on Sunday evening, expressed his appreciation for the strong support ofXi and the central government. Chui said this continued to be crucial to the Macao SAR’s ongoing achievements.

To boost the city’s development further, Chui said the Macao SAR government would strictly adhere to the “one country” principle while taking full advantage of the benefits offered by the “two systems” model. It would also actively make contributions to the country’s development, including the Belt and Road Initiative.

HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also discussed her new year’s resolutions. In a three-minute video uploaded on Sunday to her Facebook page, she wished everyone good health and prosperity in 2018.

The CE reviewed challenges and achievements in her first year as chief executive. Lam said she looked forward to building a better society with the help of all Hong Kong’s citizens in 2018.

Witman Hung Wai-man, secretary-general of Hong Kong-ASEAN Economic Cooperation Foundation and principal liaison officer for Hong Kong at the Shenzhen Qianhai Authority, agreed with Lee.

Hung, who is also a HKSAR deputy-elect to the National People’s Congress, said Hong Kong would enjoy broader horizons and seize new opportunities in the Belt and Road Initiative and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area. It could also take pride of a stronger, more prosperous nation.