Pingtan joint project draws mixed responses

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–Fujian Provincial Governor Su Shulin recently expressed hopes that Taiwan can join forces with the mainland to plan, develop and manage part of the Pingtan comprehensive experiment zone in the province, drawing mixed responses from related sectors of Taiwan, according to local news media. Su told a recent press conference in Beijing that some specific areas of the comprehensive experiment zone in Pingtan, an offshore county southeast of Fuzhoun City of Fujian Province, will be consigned to a Taiwanese county/city or private group for planning and development, or will be jointly developed by both sides of the Taiwan Straits. He added that the specific areas in the said experimental zone will be managed by Taiwanese experts, and the other areas in the zone will be jointly managed by both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Chinese authorities have planned to develop Pingtan comprehensive experiment zone into six major areas, including an industrial development area, international tourism development area, trade and business cooperation area, modern logistic harbor area, scientific and cultural industries area, and an urban development area. The industrial development area will focus on the development of electronics and information, marine biology, and clean energy industries, aiming to develop Pingtan islands into a low-carbon ones. According to Jiang Xinzhi, head of the department of organization under the Fujian provincial government, said that the supervisory committee of the Pingtang comprehensive experiment zone is now made up of seven Fujian government officials, but will be expanded to include some Taiwanese experts, in order for both sides of the Taiwan Straits to jointly develop the experiment.

In response, Wang Zai-sheng, the Kinmen County council speaker, said Su has really worked out a good idea of having both sides of the Strait to jointly develop the Pingtan experimental zone. Wang, who has frequently visited Fujian to promote cross-strait exchanges, did propose at the Straits Forum held in Xiamen of Fujian that a specific area is made available for planning and development by Taiwanese consultancy firms and operated by Taiwanese enterprises. In addition, a Taiwanese investor who has been engaged in the flower industry in Fujian for over 10 years, said that it has been an established practice for mainland Chinese authorities to offer incentives to attract funds, talents and technologies from Taiwan to develop backward regions in the mainland. He continued that quite a few Taiwanese enterprises have taken advantage of low land rental and set up plants in the mainland, and then managed to profit from the disposal of the land and plant facilities at proper times. As Fujian authorities are planning to recruit 1,000 farming experts to handle planting and processing of agricultural products and set up an agricultural tourism industry on the Pingtan experimental zone, and some Taiwanese enterprises are studying the feasibility of joining the plan. But another Taiwanese investor, surnamed Hsieh, said that the the Pingtang plan will eventually make the offshore Kinmen County of the Republic of China become marginalized, because Pingtan is very likely to replace Kinmen as a pivotal place for cross-strait shipping after it’s fully develop.