Taiwan rejects Beijing’s integrated development plan, calls it politicized cash grab

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Taiwan’s government on Thursday rejected a plan by China to boost economic integration as a cash grab to boost the country’s “deteriorating” business environment and futile bid to win Taiwanese hearts and minds to support the Communist Party.

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China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, on Tuesday unveiled steps to turn coastal Fujian province which sits opposite Taiwan into a zone for integrated development.

China will take a number of “special” policy measures to improve access for Taiwanese enterprises to Fujian province across the Taiwan Strait, the Chinese state planner said on Thursday.

China will deepen integrated development of the Chinese city of Xiamen and Taiwan-controlled Kinmen Islands, including the acceleration of gas, electricity and transportation links between the two, said Cong Liang, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission.

But Taiwan’s China-policy making Mainland Affairs Council said this “unilateral” plan was just another attempt to win over Taiwanese people which would not work.

China is trying to promise equal treatment and economic benefits “as a cover to win over and entice our people and companies to go to the mainland and integrate into its systems, regulations and norms, to accept the Communist Party’s leadership,” it said.

“This is totally wishful thinking.”

China is suffering from economic problems, systemic risks in its financial system and a “deteriorating business environment,” it added.

“This is obviously an attempt to attract Taiwanese funds and talents to mainland China to boost its internal economy.”

China has long offered Taiwan a choice between two pathways - peace and prosperity or war and decline.

China’s air force entered Taiwan’s air defense zone again on Thursday in what the democratically governed island says constitutes regular harassment.

Taiwan’s democratically-elected government says only the island’s people can decide their future.

China supports the idea of allowing Kinmen, located adjacent to Xiamen despite being controlled by Taiwan, access to Xiamen’s new airport, Cong said at a news conference.

He added that Beijing also supports new energy cooperation between Taiwan, which it regards as a Chinese province, and Ningde, a Fujian city north of Xiamen.

Cong, speaking at a news conference in Beijing, said opening up of an experimental development zone in Pingtan, China’s closest point to the main Taiwan island, will be expedited.

China also aims to build a cross-strait high-speed railway “at an early date”, he said, plans which Beijing has previously announced and Taipei has also previously rejected.

Shares of some Fujian companies gained on Thursday, against a relatively flat broader market. Strait Innovation Internet Co and Zhongfu Straits Pingtan Development Co, both based in Pingtan, closed up more than 2%.

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