Fri, Aug 04, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Unification with China inevitable, geographically


While China and Taiwan's political unification remains in doubt, a study showed yesterday that the two countries will eventually join up, because the movement of the Earth's crust is slowly pushing Taiwan toward China.

The process is slow, however, and was expected to take more than 1 million years, the study found.

According to the research by the Kaohsiung City Government, Kaohsiung's Chai Shan (柴山), or Chai Hill, has moved 24cm toward China since 2002, averaging 7cm per year.

"We used a global positioning system to monitor the movement of Chai Shan," an official from from the city government's Department of Land said. "There were no changes in some points of Chai Shan, but there were changes in other points. At one monitoring point, it had been moving 7cm toward the Taiwan Strait each year."

If Taiwan keeps moving toward China at that speed, the two countries will become one -- at least geographically -- in 1.5 million years.

Taiwan is separated from China by the Taiwan Strait, which is 200km wide at its widest point and 130km wide at its narrowest.

Other scientists agreed that the movement of the crust will push Taiwan toward China eventually.

"Taiwan sits between the Eurasian Plate and the Filipino Plate," said Lin Wen-tse (林文哲), a researcher at the Institute of Earth Sciences.

"The friction between them will push Taiwan gradually towards China," he said.

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