Pingtan Island is to be transformed into a special economic zone to allow further industrial cooperation with Taiwan, it was announced by the Fujian provincial authorities on Sunday.
Experts from both sides of the Straits are now working on a new model for the island, the fifth largest in China, which lies 28 km from the provincial capital Fuzhou and around 120 km from Taiwan.
Officials plan to build it into a pioneering area for exchange and cooperation to benefit both sides, while Taiwan investors will also enjoy a series of preferential policies on the island.
"Based on its unique and strategic location, we are going to build a special economic zone to enhance cross-Straits industrial cooperation," said Chen Hua, Fujian's deputy governor yesterday. "But although we're going to develop the island's economy, its preservation is still a priority."
Chen hopes Pingtan will become the frontier platform for cross-Straits cooperation by building a modern industrial system with distinct characteristics and ensuring mutual benefits.
Fujian has strong cultural and business ties with Taiwan, with more than 100,000 Taiwan businessmen and women as permanent residents in the province.
More than 80 percent of Taiwanese can trace their ancestral roots to Fujian, while most of the island's culture, beliefs and arts were also inherited from the province.
Xiamen and Fuzhou airports have direct cross-Straits flights, while Xiamen Airlines was the first mainland airline to set up an office in Taiwan.
(China Daily September 28, 2009)