Thu, February 05, 2009
> HK/Taiwan

Taiwan mulls bridge to mainland

2009-02-05 11:27:33 GMT2009-02-05 19:27:33 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

TAIPEI, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Taiwan is studying the feasibility of building a bridge from the island's Kinmen island to the mainland's southeastern province of Fujian, a spokesman of Taiwan authorities said Thursday.

"We will keep an eye on the ongoing feasibility study and announce its result in due time," said the spokesman Su Jun-pin.

"As it needs negotiation with the mainland, the bridge project will be on the agenda of cross-Straits talks only after we are done with the evaluation and sure of building the bridge," Su said.

The bridge would link Kinmen county with Xiamen, a city in Fujian Province.

Li Chu-feng, chief of the Kinmen county, said the county government had started studying the proposal in 2004 and that villagers were looking forward to the building of the bridge.

"To make a way out, Taiwan has to strengthen cooperation with the mainland and especially needs a huge market in the mainland. Kinmen would like to be a pilot for the cross-Straits exchange," Li said.

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou inquired about the progress of the feasibility study on Wednesday, the Taiwan-based United Daily News reported Thursday.

The bridge would span 8.6 kilometers (5.2 miles) according to the initial plan, the paper said.

Ties between the island and the mainland have warmed over the past year. Historic direct daily flights, postal and shipping services between the two sides were launched last December.

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