President Xi Jinping on Tuesday launched the world's longest bridge over the sea with a one-line declaration at a ceremony held at the facility's port in Zhuhai.
Xi entered the ceremonial hall walking alongside Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, and the two were all smiles as they chatted to each other. The pair were followed by Macau's leader, Fernando Chui, and Vice Premiers Han Zheng and Liu He.
"I declare the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge officially open," Xi said as the screen behind showed digital fireworks. Xi didn't make any speech and soon left the stage.
He shook hands with three vice chairmen of the CPPCC; former SAR leaders Tung Chee-hwa, CY Leung and Edmund Ho before leaving the venue with Lam and others.
Speaking before Xi's declaration, Han said the president's attendance showed the core of the Communist Party attaches great importance to the completion of the bridge, as it expressed its care to the people of the three places.
For her part, Lam thanked the mainland for giving Hong Kong the opportunity to take part in the project, which she described as China's great achievement.
She said the bridge is going to bring new momentum to Hong Kong's future development, making the city into an active participant – rather than just the mainland's connector with the world.
Chui said the facility's construction has its meanings politically, economically and socially, as it provides a stronger basis for Macau's integration into the Greater Bay Area.
The party secretary of Guangdong, Li Xi, said the bridge brings the three places closer together, calling it a facility that represents people's dreams and togetherness.
With extremely tight security, no guests were allowed to bring their mobile phones into the ceremony. Some of them spent some time outside the event's hall asking photographers to take pictures of them. That made the ceremony start half an hour later than originally scheduled.
The 55-kilometre cross-border bridge linking Hong Kong with Macau and the mainland was originally scheduled to open two years ago, but it was dogged by delays and substantial cost overruns. The three governments shared the cost of construction.
The facility will open to the public on Wednesday.