Netizens abuzz over transportation network plan that includes Taipei
Published: Mar 01, 2021 01:49 AM
An aerial photo shows the Pingtan Strait Road-rail Bridge in East China’s Fujian Province. The first of its kind in China, the bridge opened on Saturday, shortening travel time between the provincial capital of Fuzhou with the island county of Pingtan to 35 minutes from around two hours. The bridge will make it more convenient for compatriots in the island of Taiwan to travel to the Chinese mainland. Photo: cnsphoto

An aerial photo shows the Pingtan Strait Road-rail Bridge in East China’s Fujian Province.  Photo: cnsphoto

Upon the release of the latest outline for China's National Comprehensive Transportation Network Plan, Chinese netizens have spotted Taipei, in the island of Taiwan, has been included in the layout of one of the main routes of the plan.

A high-speed railway linking Beijing and Taipei was proposed in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20). Analysts noted the plan would benefit Taiwan's economy but it requires a stable and peaceful political environment, meaning the implementation is facing major challenges under the secessionist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority that has been hostile toward the mainland and never cares about Taiwan residents' livelihood and projects benefiting local people.

The guidelines of China's National Comprehensive Transportation Network Plan, which set the construction goals from 2021 to 2035 with a long-term plan extended, was issued on Wednesday. Many have noticed that Taipei, in the island of Taiwan, was also listed in one of the main routes that already reaches Pingtan, East China's Fujian Province. 

The discussion quickly heated on social media platforms, with a considerable crowd from both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan speculating that the information "could imply a national reunification happening soon, probably within the time frame before 2035."

While some in the island expressed worries, others welcomed the plan which they believe will "lead the people of Taiwan out of poverty." There were also voices accusing the DPP of "creating destitution, fear, hatred and battles between generations by cutting down the pensions," news website quoted comments by Taiwan netizens on social media on Sunday. 

China has been diligently planning to build roads across the Taiwan Strait for more than a decade.

According to media reports, since the first publication of the National Comprehensive Transportation Network Plan in 2008, it has included cities in Taiwan into plans for transportation routes across China. 

The construction of roads from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan must be realized on the basis of stable and friendly cross-Straits relations, but DPP is definitely about to reject it," Wang Jianmin, a Taiwan affairs expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Analysts also noted that connecting to the mainland with the high-speed railway network would provide the island many development opportunities and opposing it for political reasons is short-sighted and harms Taiwan compatriots' interest.