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…reports Asian Lite News
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)
Japan Dispatches Defence Official to Taiwan
A serving Japanese defence ministry official has been dispatched to Taiwan and stationed within an organization that serves as a liaison with Japan, sources say, NHK World reported.
NHK World-Japan is the international service of Japan’s public media organization NHK.
The move shows Japan’s efforts to gather intelligence in response to mounting concerns about a potential crisis in Taiwan.
Though Japan has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the the Taipei office of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association acts as Japan’s de facto Embassy. Various Japanese officials, including those from the foreign ministry and the economy and industry ministry are posted there.
Sources close to the matter say a civilian bureaucrat from the defense ministry has been stationed in the Taipei office since this spring.
The Japanese defence ministry had until then not dispatched any serving officials to the organization.
A retired Japanese Self-Defense Forces officer has been assigned there since 2003, bringing the total number of Japanese officials in charge of security to two.
Japan has, however, refrained from dispatching a serving SDF officer to Taiwan, unlike some other nations that have no diplomatic ties with Taiwan but station uniformed officers there, as per NHK World.
Observers suggest that Japan has avoided doing so to prevent provoking China, which claims Taiwan as its own.
Meanwhile, Taiwan recently termed China as the “bully next door” and said that Beijing should hold its own election instead of shaping Taipei.
“The #PRC has made it clear it wants to shape #Taiwan’s coming national election. Well, it’s up to our citizens to decide, not the bully next door. Look, #China should hold its own elections; I’m sure its people would be thrilled,” Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said on microblogging site X.
This came hours after the People’s Republic of China reportedly crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan on Saturday said it has detected warplane incursions into its air defence zone since China announced the launch of military drills, the country’s Defence Ministry said. (ANI)