The President, Mr Hu Jintao, accompanied by State Councillor Ms Liu Yandong and the Chief Executive Mr Chui Sai On this afternoon laid the foundation stone for the new campus of the University of Macau on Hengqin Island, Zhuhai. Speaking at the ceremony, Ms Liu said that building the university campus on Hengqin Island was a significant strategy of the Central Government in supporting Macao’s education development. She said she believed that as the MSAR’s biggest tertiary institution, the University of Macau played a vital role in nurturing local talent and the new Hengqin campus would further enhance this role by providing the university with more room for development. Re-iterating the President’s expectations for the university, Ms Liu stressed she hoped it would become one of the best tertiary institutions in the world, with world class facilities, faculties, talent and research. She also pointed out that the creation of the Hengqin campus was the result of collaborative efforts from different parties, especially Guangdong and Zhuhai. For his part, the Chief Executive, Mr Chui Sai On, expressed his gratitude to the Central Government for approving the Hengqin campus project, giving a big boost to Macao’s sustainable development. He said the MSAR Government would use the project as a starting point for closer co-operation with Guangdong and regional integration in line with the Reform of the Pearl River Delta Region Development Plan. He also pledged that the MSAR Government would enhance investment in education and talent. Covering about 1.09 square kilometres, the Hengqin campus is about 20 times the size of the University’s existing campus. Upon completion in three years, it would be able to accommodate about 10,000 students. An underwater tunnel to be built to connect the campus with Macao will be open around the clock. With the MSAR Government having jurisdiction over the campus, local residents commuting between the new facility and Macao will not be subject to immigration or the usual cross-boundary checks.