China unveils ‘special’ measures to boost Taiwan’s access to coastal Fujian

Beijing has proposed transforming Fujian province into a zone for integrated development with Taiwan.

Taiwan's Kinmen is located adjacent to the Chinese city of Xiamen [File: Ann Wang/Reuters]

China will take a number of “special” policy measures to improve access for Taiwanese enterprises to Fujian province across the Taiwan Strait, the Chinese state planner has announced, under a long-term cross-strait integrated development plan.

China will deepen the integrated development of the Chinese city of Xiamen and Taiwan-controlled Kinmen islands, including the acceleration of gas, electricity and transportation links between the two, said Cong Liang, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, on Thursday.

The steps are part of a plan announced by China on Tuesday to turn coastal Fujian province into a zone for integrated development with Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory.

Taiwan strongly rejects China’s sovereignty claims.

China has long offered Taiwan a choice between two pathways – peace and prosperity or war and decline. China’s air force entered Taiwan’s air defence zone again on Thursday in what the democratically governed island says constitutes regular harassment.

China supports the idea of allowing Kinmen, located adjacent to Xiamen despite being controlled by Taiwan across the strait, access to Xiamen’s new airport, Cong said at a news conference.

He added that Beijing also supports new energy cooperation between Taiwan, which it regards as a Chinese province, and Ningde, a Fujian city north of Xiamen.

Opening up of an experimental development zone in Pingtan, China’s closest point to the main Taiwan island across the strait, will be expedited, Cong added.

China also aims to build a cross-strait high-speed railway “at an early date”, he said.

Shares of some Fujian companies gained on Thursday, against a relatively flat broader market.

Strait Innovation Internet and Zhongfu Straits Pingtan Development Co, both based in Pingtan, rose 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

Source: Reuters