Tue, Dec 23, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Cross-strait link in the spotlight

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Experts from both sides of the Taiwan Strait gathered in Taipei yesterday to discuss the possibility of building a cross-strait expressway linking Taipei to Beijing.

Chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) said at the opening that the exchange of ideas and expertise on the design for such a route has the same “historical significance” as the improvement of cross-strait relations facilitated by his meeting last month with his counterpart Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS).

“The construction of a Taiwan Strait expressway will further narrow the cultural and economic gap between the two sides,” said Chiang, adding that “it is the common desire of the people of both Taiwan and China to see the realization of such a historic project.”

The idea of a physical route to link Taipei and Beijing has been in the works in China for years. The project was included in an expressway network plan announced by China in 2005 to build 85,000km of expressways over a 30-year period at an estimated cost of 2 trillion yuan (US$240 billion).

Chiang said that a Beijing-Taipei expressway would further facilitate the transportation of Taiwanese products to China and Eastern Europe.

The Taiwan Strait Crossing Route Academic Conference has been held twice a year for the past 12 years in China, with the participation of experts from Taiwan and China, but this is the first time that it has been held in Taiwan.

The conference will discuss basic aspects of the proposed Taiwan Strait expressway, including design philosophy, concept and basic requirements.

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