China unveils ‘blueprint’ for Taiwan integration: Report

The announcement comes alongside a display of military strength as Chinese warships circled Taiwan.

ANI | Updated: 13-09-2023 23:59 IST | Created: 13-09-2023 23:56 IST
China unveils ‘blueprint’ for Taiwan integration: Report
Representative Image. Image Credit: ANI
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In a significant move, China has unveiled a comprehensive plan to deepen integration between its coastal province of Fujian and Taiwan, a self-governing island nation, CNN reported. The announcement comes alongside a display of military strength as Chinese warships encircled Taiwan.The directive, jointly issued by the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee and the State Council, outlines ambitious goals, including making Fujian a "demonstration zone" for integrated development with Taiwan and the "first home" for Taiwanese residents and businesses looking to establish themselves in China, CNN reported.

This directive is being hailed as a potential blueprint for Taiwan's future development by Chinese experts quoted in state media. However, its release comes at a critical juncture in cross-strait relations, with Taiwan preparing for its upcoming presidential election in January. China continues to exert military pressure on Taiwan, despite the island being a vibrant democracy with a population of 24 million people that Beijing's ruling Communist Party claims as its territory, despite never having controlled it. In the days leading up to the release of China's integration plan, a Chinese aircraft carrier and approximately two dozen warships were observed gathering in waters near Taiwan, according to Taiwanese authorities. China has long employed a combination of incentives and threats towards Taiwan, offering business and cultural opportunities while simultaneously warning of the possibility of military invasion, as reported by CNN.

Given the recent strain in cross-strait relations, it remains uncertain how receptive Taiwanese citizens and leaders will be to China's sweeping proposal. Wang Ting-yu, a Taiwanese lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, criticized the integration plan as "ridiculous" in a video message, suggesting that China should focus on addressing its financial challenges rather than engaging in united front work against Taiwan. The concept of turning Fujian into a zone for integrated development with Taiwan was first introduced in China's official documents in 2021 but lacked specific details. In June, when a senior Chinese leader mentioned the integration plan at a forum, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council dismissed it as "meaningless" and "futile," asserting that it did not align with Taiwan's public expectations, according to CNN.

In the newly released directive, Beijing commits to improving the business environment for Taiwanese companies operating in Fujian, deepening industrial and capital cooperation, and encouraging Taiwanese firms to list on Chinese stock exchanges. Additionally, Taiwanese companies will be allowed to invest in and establish radio and television production companies in Fujian as part of a pilot programme. The directive also aims to attract Taiwanese workers and families to settle in Fujian by enhancing social welfare programs, making it easier for Taiwanese individuals to live and work in the province, including property ownership. It promises equal treatment for Taiwanese students, allowing them to enrol in public schools.

Chinese observers view this document as outlining Taiwan's future development, with integration into Fujian expected to provide broader economic prospects for the island. Fujian, a province with 40 million people located on the western side of the Taiwan Strait, shares geographical and cultural ties with Taiwan. Many Taiwanese are descendants of Fujian immigrants who brought their dialect, customs, and religion, contributing to Taiwan's traditional Han culture. China's ruling Communist Party has consistently cited the geographic, historical, and cultural proximity between Fujian and Taiwan as a basis for advocating closer economic and social integration, ultimately leading to unification with the island. Special attention is given to Taiwan's outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu, which have historically had strong ties with the mainland due to their proximity to Fujian, CNN reported.

In Tuesday's directive, Beijing commits to accelerating integration between Xiamen and Kinmen, exploring infrastructure cooperation that would allow the transport of electricity and gas from Xiamen to Kinmen and connecting the two cities with a bridge. Kinmen residents will receive similar treatment to local residents in Xiamen. Similar integration measures are outlined for Fuzhou and Matsu. For some residents of Kinmen, these plans for greater connectivity may be appealing. This year, a cross-party alliance of eight local councillors in Kinmen proposed building a bridge to Xiamen to enhance economic ties. This proposal is part of a broader plan to demilitarize Kinmen and turn it into a "peace island," positioning it as a setting for talks between Beijing and Taipei aimed at de-escalating tensions.

As China moves forward with its integration plan for Fujian and Taiwan, the region remains a focal point for geopolitical tensions, with implications for the future of cross-strait relations and regional stability, CNN reported. (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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