The praise heaped upon Donald Tsang Yam-kuen by the nation's leaders yesterday underlines the high level of trust they place in him as Hong Kong's leader for the next five years. His warm reception in Beijing marks the completion of an impressive political turnaround for the veteran civil servant who has, in the past, been treated with suspicion because of his links with our city's colonial past. No wonder Mr Tsang looked overjoyed as he received the formal letter of appointment for his second term. He can plan ahead from a position of strength. The election is behind him, the economy continues to do well and he enjoys a high level of popularity. But the real test for Mr Tsang is yet to come. He would do well to keep in mind the more cautionary note struck by Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday. Amid all the tributes and messages of support, Mr Wen reminded the chief executive that the responsibility he carries is a heavy one and that much hard work lies ahead. There are many challenges which must be faced during Mr Tsang's second term. Major policy initiatives can no longer be deferred. There is a need for progress on many different fronts, from health care reform to combating pollution. But the heaviest responsibility resting on the shoulders of Mr Tsang is to ensure the continued success of the 'one country, two systems' concept. One lesson we have learned during the first 10 years since Hong Kong's return to China is that the chief executive's job is not an easy one. He stands at the point where 'one country' and 'two systems' meet, with a constitutional duty to be accountable both to the central government and Hong Kong. There will be times when there are conflicting interests, or at least different perspectives. Mr Tsang has an important role to play in frankly explaining the Hong Kong position to Beijing and in helping our community understand the views of the central government, so that problems can be worked out. He can take heart from the support expressed by the leaders yesterday for key parts of his election platform. It is interesting to note that they mentioned advancing democracy as one of Mr Tsang's priorities, along with the more familiar calls for improving people's livelihoods and creating harmony. It is unusual for democracy to be raised publicly on such occasions and the remarks yesterday perhaps reflect the importance Mr Tsang has rightly attached to the issue. He has pledged to resolve the question of political reform within five years. Significantly, however, President Hu Jintao spoke of the need for a gradual approach over the next five years. Hong Kong should, however, push on with efforts to forge the necessary consensus on reform and to seek to persuade Beijing that we are ready for universal suffrage in 2012. Greater effort is also needed to safeguard Hong Kong's future as a key player in China's development, so important to maintaining our competitiveness. On returning from Beijing, Mr Tsang can begin preparing for his second term in earnest, including putting together a new ruling team. He will be meeting senior civil servants in a bid to secure their support for his policies in the coming weeks. Both the leadership in Beijing and the people of Hong Kong will be looking for vision and leadership as well as an ability to feel the pulse of the community. Mr Tsang currently enjoys support on both sides of the border. Now, he must live up to expectations.