China announces 'initial plans' to build bridges to Taiwan's outlying islands Matsu, Kinmen

Mainland Affairs Council denounces claim, calls it part of Beijing's efforts to absorb Taiwan

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Tourism is an important sector of Kinmen's economy (Source: CNA)

Tourism is an important sector of Kinmen's economy (Source: CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Chinese state-run news channel reported on Sunday (Oct. 13) that Beijing has completed “initial plans” for bridges linking the country to Taiwan’s outlying islands Matsu and Kinmen.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said on Monday that the plans were made unilaterally by China as part of its schemes to absorb Taiwan and divide Taiwanese society, reported Liberty Times. Beijing has long disregarded the existence of Taiwan and shown a lack of respect for its democratic values and system, the MAC said.

According to Communist China’s mouthpiece CCTV, a total of 40 experts from both sides of the Taiwan Strait gathered in Fujian’s provincial capital, Fuzhou, on Sunday to discuss plans for the bridges connecting Fuzhou to Matsu and Xiamen to Kinmen. The designer of the 55-kilometer Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge that opened last year, Meng Fanchao (孟凡超), has expressed confidence that any technical difficulties can be overcome.

The report suggested that the “initial plans” for the bridges had been drawn up, including a four- to eight-lane bridge linking Xiamen to Kinmen through the newly built Xiang'an International Airport. Currently, Chinese wishing to travel to Matsu or Kinmen must either fly or take a ferry under the “mini three links” agreement between Taiwan and China that went into effect in 2001.

The Taiwanese government sees no need for bridges linking either Matsu or Kinmen to China, according to the MAC. The matter concerns the future development of cross-strait relations and should hence be determined by Taiwan’s central government after a thorough assessment.

The MAC said Taiwan supports exchanges between its outlying islands and China in trade and other areas that boost local economies. It added that these exchanges, however, should neither compromise Taiwan’s sovereignty nor violate the country’s regulations.