China to formulate ‘special’ measures to widen Taiwan’s access to Fujian

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

China will deepen 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.

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. As a reminder of the latter pathway, China’s air force has been sending planes into Taiwan’s air defence zone in what the democratically governed island complains 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.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo and Ethan Wang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)