Taiwan and China have yet to communicate over the construction of the high-speed rail system connecting Beijing and Taipei, Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Jian-yu (陳建宇) said yesterday, adding that the project would be more than just a transportation matter.
The project, which was made public at the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing on Saturday, was listed as part of the five-year plan China wants to accomplish by 2020.
Yesterday it became the focus of the question-and-answer session at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee in Taipei, during which Chen was scheduled to brief the lawmakers about the ministry’s administrative plans for the next fiscal year.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) and Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) both asked Chen to comment on the project.
“I have absolutely no information [about the project]. It would be more than just a transportation issue,” Chen said. “China has yet to talk to us [about the project] through any channel of communication.”
Lin said that China had proposed other transportation projects in the past, from building a freeway connecting Taipei and Beijing to including Taiwan as part of its railway network by constructing a bridge between Kinmen and Xiamen.
The project would require a 130km undersea tunnel, which would be longer than Japan’s tunnel connecting Hokkaido and Hoshu Islands (23km) and the Channel Tunnel between the UK and France (38km), he said.
Lin said that the Chinese government proposed the idea of the high-speed rail link to reinforce its belief that Taiwan is part of China and that it would consider the rail link an extension of its national transport network.
“They [China[ are taking advantage of us,” Lin added. “You should not even bother to waste time doing feasibility research on the project. Just ignore them next time when they bring up a similar project.”
Meanwhile, Chen was also questioned about the problems afflicting the MRT line connecting Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Taipei Area.
The ministry announced on Friday last week that it would have to postpone the launch of the system a sixth time due to a contractor’s continuous failure to fulfill its contractual obligations in terms of the average speed of the trains, express train services and the interval at which the trains are to be deployed.
DPP Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) and several other lawmakers passed a resolution yesterday asking the ministry to form an ad hoc group of independent experts to inspect all aspects of the construction of the line.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said Taiwan has become the joke of the international community because it has spent 11 years building the airport MRT system and it is still not operational.
Bureau of High Speed Rail Director-General Allen Hu (胡湘麟) said that the contractor, Marubeni Corp, has been asked to increase the average speed of the trains by the end of June, adding that the system would be handed over to Taoyuan Metro Corp in July for preoperational testing if the integrated system testing goes well.
Apart from fining Marubeni for its failure to meet its contractual obligations, Chen said that the ministry would seek compensation for the damage caused by the delayed launch of the rail system.
LIABILITIES MULLED: New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi said Taipei would find out if the firm was legally registered, the guide was licensed and the weather was assessed The assets of Tian Da Local Nature Co are to be frozen after at least four people died after falling into the Beishi River (北勢溪) on an outing the company had organized on Saturday, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. Six people — two adults and four children — were washed away by a flash flood on the river in New Taipei City’s Hubaotan (虎豹潭) area. They were participating in a Nature Joy Camp outdoor activity with a group of 16 adults and 15 children led by a guide surnamed Su (蘇). As of 4:30pm yesterday, four of the missing had been
The US 7th Fleet yesterday confirmed that a US Navy ship transited the Taiwan Strait on Thursday and Friday. “The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey [DDG 105] conducted a Taiwan Strait transit in cooperation with Royal Canadian Navy [RCN] Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Winnipeg, October 14-15, 2021,” the US 7th Fleet said in a statement. “Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific. Cooperation like this represents the centerpiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region,” it added. The transit marked the
‘COUNTERPRODUCTIVE’: The German, French and Singaporean missions said that Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions are hindering local projects and business operations Several foreign missions in Taiwan have urged the government to ease its strict COVID-19 border controls, which they say are hurting in-person exchanges and business operations. The missions made the appeal in response to media inquiries on how the border controls have affected their respective countries’ exchanges with Taiwan, amid growing concerns voiced privately by Taiwan-based foreign offices and businesses regarding the restrictions. Taiwan has maintained strict entry requirements since March last year, generally prohibiting most arrivals except for citizens and foreign residents, while it has required those who enter the country to undergo a stringent 14-day quarantine. Although the rules have been
PROTECTION: The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a full vaccination rate of 30 percent, and allowing mixed first and second doses to boost coverage rates Whether Taiwan reopens its borders would depend on the nation’s vaccination coverage rate and the COVID-19 situation in other countries, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said yesterday. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a 70 percent first-dose vaccination coverage and 30 percent two-dose coverage as part of its consideration, Shih told a media briefing following the weekly Cabinet meeting. In spite of a relatively stable COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, and calls from foreign missions and businesses in the country to allow more international travelers, the government is maintaining strict border control measures. Since March last year,