China releases new measures for Taiwan ‘integration’

BEIJING (AFP): China outlined on Tuesday a raft of measures for strengthening integration with Taiwan, in an indication that Beijing aims to expand links with the self-ruled island that were severed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

China claims the democratic island as part of its territory and relations have soured since Taiwan’s independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016.

Ties drifted further as coronavirus curbs gummed up trade and other exchanges during the pandemic.

The document jointly issued Tuesday by the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee and the State Council consists of more than 20 “opinions” for laying a “new path towards integrated development” between Taiwan and the culturally similar mainland province of Fujian.

They include making it easier for Taiwanese people to live, work, study and do business in Fujian, as well as encouragement for companies in the province to hire staff from Taiwan.

They also call for the coastal city of Xiamen to speed up integration with Kinmen and Matsu, two groups of islands that lie just a few miles off the coast of mainland China but are governed by Taiwan.

The United States recognises Beijing diplomatically over Taipei but maintains de facto relations with Taiwan and supports its right to decide its own future.

“Solving the Taiwan issue and realising the complete reunification of the motherland is the unswerving historical task of the Chinese Communist Party… and the inevitable requirement for realising the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” Tuesday’s document said.