Hong Kong should heed the US attacks to avoid a similar incident in the territory, Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said. 'We both are free and open societies. We share some common values. I have a special feeling this time,' Mr Tsang said after a day of meetings in Washington. 'Washington is an open, free and modern capital city. Yet it was damaged by terrorist activities. Hong Kong is such a small, open and free city. This is something we have to be alert to . . . to safeguard against.' Mr Tsang was speaking after a 15-minute meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell, who mentioned the support the US received from President Jiang Zemin about future action against terrorist activities. Mr Tsang was the first foreign official to meet Mr Powell since the attacks. Talks with other senior officials, including National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, were cancelled. A senior diplomat said the Powell meeting was significant. 'It shows Hong Kong does matter and does get attention.' Mr Tsang said Mr Powell had also expressed great appreciation of the 'one country, two systems' model in Hong Kong. 'He was also encouraged by the protection of civil rights and liberties in Hong Kong,' the Chief Secretary said. Mr Tsang said he was given 'some very encouraging and positive' remarks on what Hong Kong had accomplished over the past four years. 'They believe Hong Kong is economically very strong in its fundamentals . . . They saw no reason that Hong Kong would [not] do equally well in facing up to the decline in our economic fortunes arising from what is happening here in the US.' Mr Tsang said some of the people he met had told him the attacks would galvanise America, unify political forces and enable the country to move faster in its economic recovery. 'So it might be the silver lining in this tragedy,' he said.