Taiwan Straits bridge ‘good for trade’

 The proposed bridge linking Jinmen, one of the outlying islands near Taiwan, to Xiamen, southeast of the Chinese mainland, as proposed by the Taiwan authorities, would be a landmark in cross-Straits relations, Taiwan affairs experts said Monday.

The government will consider building the bridge and complete a proposal by the end of the year on the feasibility of its construction, Taiwan "president" Ma Ying-jeou was quoted as saying by local media on Sunday in the two sides’ former battlefield of Jinmen.

If the bridge project, stalled for many years, was feasible it would facilitate development of cross-Straits trade, experts said.

"It would bring new trade opportunities to Taiwan and the west coast of the Straits in Fujian," said Zhang Guanhua, deputy director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Jinmen, 6 km from Xiamen over the Straits, is currently accessible by water transport. Anyone with valid travel documents is allowed to go via Jinmen to the mainland or from Xiamen to Taiwan via the island.

Ma made the proposal while in Jinmen to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1958 battle between Taiwan and the mainland.

He also renewed his pledge to promote cross-Straits peace.

"People across the Taiwan Straits must not allow recurrence of civil war tragedies," Ma told dozens of war veterans.

"Let us turn this killing field into a land of peace for the 21st century," he said.

He urged Taipei and Beijing to expand their exchanges and cooperation to resolve hostility and pave the way toward an eventual peace agreement.

Ma said his administration planned to boost tourism exchanges by offering landing permits or multiple travel documents to people from the mainland visiting Jinmen .


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