Thu, Apr 26, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Taipei says thanks but no to cross-strait tunnel plan

DPA , TAIPEI

Taiwan has snubbed China's plan to link up the two countries with a highway or a tunnel under the Taiwan Strait, urging Beijing to be "more practical" in improving cross-Strait ties.

"From the academic point of view, we can discuss this. But these `cross-Strait projects' are extremely difficult, costly and time-consuming," Mainland Affairs Council spokesman Johnnason Liu (劉德勳) told reporters on Tuesday.

Liu said that what separates Taiwan and China is not the Taiwan Strait, but the difference in the two sides' social systems and that only when China has adopted democracy can Taiwan and China be truly think about unification.

"The problem between Taiwan and China is not the sea or transport. It is system and values. The biggest obstacle is one has democracy and the other has dictatorship," he said.

"The two sides should discuss more practical issues, instead of wasting time on political propaganda," he added.

In recent years, China has floated the idea of extending its national highway network to Taiwan by building a dam and filling in the 120km-wide Taiwan Strait, or building a tunnel under the strait.

Taipei has dismissed the ideas as political propaganda and part of China's scheme to forcibly achieve China-Taiwan unification without the approval of Taiwan's people.

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