The newly-launched Economic Zone along the WesternCoast of the Taiwan Straits will be conducive to the peaceful reunifi cation of the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, officials said.
¡°The achievements of the zone will go beyond promoting economic co-operation between Fujian and Taiwan provinces,¡± they said.
Business planners in East China¡¯s FujianProvince, situated opposite Taiwan, launched a strategy to set up the economic zone last January, in a bid to speed up local economic development.
East China's Fujian Province lays opposite To Taiwan across the Taiwan Straits.
¡°It is a strategical plan to build the economic zone, which is helpful in the peaceful reunifi cation of the Chinese mainland and Taiwan and regional economic development,¡± said Lu Zhangong, Secretary of Fujian Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.
Lu Zhanggong,Secretary of Fujian Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China
The Haicang Bridage links the mainland and Xiamen.an island city in East China's Fujian Province.LI LUANHAN
With Fuzhou and Xiamen at the centres, the zone is expected to expand along the coastal areas in the province facing Taiwan.
¡°Because the zone links the mainland and Taiwan, as well as the Pearl River and Yangtze River deltas - two of thee mainland¡¯s important economic engines, it will help Fujian strengthen its importance as an industrial base and attract overseas investment,¡± said Lu.
On March 14, the Third Plenary Meeting of the 10th National People¡¯s Congress, the highest legislative body of China, passed the Anti-Secession Law, showing the nation¡¯s determination to safeguard territorial integrity and promote the peaceful reunifi cation of the mainland and Taiwan.
Fujian, as the closest mainland province to Taiwan, has played an important role in the nation¡¯s reunification efforts.
Experts and officials say the zone will create a new platform for economic co-operation between
Fujian and Taiwan. Enhanced economic partnerships are conducive to strengthening anti-secessionist forces in Taiwan. Fujian¡¯s representatives proposed during the National People¡¯s Congress session that the zone should be listed as a key development area in the State¡¯s 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010).
In addition, local authorities said that Taiwanese enterprises can make investments in every possible industrial fi eld in the zone, except for those causing environmental problems and prohibited by State laws and regulations.
It is predicted that the new economic zone will go further in enhancing the already intensifi ed exchanges between the two provinces, according to Lu.
At present, Taiwan is the second largest investment source and the largest import source to Fujian.
By the end of 2004, Taiwaneseinvested enterprises in Fujian accounted for 25 per cent of the total number of Taiwanese-funded enterprises on the mainland.
¡°Because of the complemtary nature of the two economies, business partnerships between the two provinces are expected to further expand,¡± said Lu.
Lu said the initiative is also helpful for the ¡°three direct links¡± of trade, transport and postal service between Taiwan and the mainland.
Fujian is now pioneering direct passenger and cargo transportation with Taiwan¡¯s Jinmen and Mazu areas, regarded as an experiment and preparation for the ¡°Three Direct Links.¡±
By the end of 2004, about 3.2 million TEUs (twentyfoot equivalent units) cargo containers and 670,000 passengers moved directly between the two sides, according to official statistics.
At the same time, a total of 5.9 million Taiwanese people arrived in Fujian via direct and indirect transport links.
At present, about 1 million Taiwanese people live in Fujian. As more Taiwanese business people are expected to invest in the new economic zone, figures are predicted to increase substantially.
As a result, the zone will help strengthen emotional ties between the mainland and Taiwan, said Lu.
Fujian and Taiwan enjoy close cultural links. Many Taiwanese speak the Minnan and Hakka dialects, which have their origins in eastern and southern Fujian.
And people from both sides have long worshipped Mazu, a goddess of marine transportation safety.