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China unveils ‘blueprint’ for Taiwan integration: Report

Atlanta, United States, September 14:  In a significant but highly anticipated move, China has officially unveiled an extensive plan aimed at deepening integration between its coastal province of Fujian (mainland China) and Taiwan, a self-governing island nation.

This development was reported by CNN and comes against a backdrop of heightened military activity in the region, with Chinese warships encircling Taiwan.

The directive, jointly issued by the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee and the State Council, outlines a series of ambitious goals.

Foremost among these is the aspiration to transform Fujian into a “demonstration zone” for integrated development with Taiwan. Additionally, it seeks to position Fujian as the “first home” for Taiwanese residents and businesses looking to establish themselves in mainland China, as reported by CNN.

This directive has been hailed as a potential blueprint for Taiwan’s future development by Chinese experts quoted in state media. However, it arrives at a critical juncture in cross-strait relations, with Taiwan gearing up for its upcoming presidential election.

Despite being a vibrant democracy with a population of 24 million people, Taiwan remains a contentious issue for Beijing, which claims the entire island nation as its territory, despite never having controlled it.

In the days leading up to the release of China’s integration plan, an aircraft carrier and approximately two dozen warships were observed gathering in waters near Taiwan, according to Taiwanese authorities.

China has consistently 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 program.

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 enroll 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.

As China moves forward with its integration plan for Fujian and Taiwan, the region remains a focal point for geopolitical tensions between the West and China, with implications for the future of cross-strait relations and regional stability.

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