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Xi's visit to further promote Pingtan’s development, says expert

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2014-11-02

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The Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone (PCPZ) in Fujian province will see more fruitful results in cross-Straits communications following a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Nov 1, according to an expert from Xiamen University.

Xi's visit to further promote Pingtan’s development, says expert
President Xi visits Pingtan

Pingtan has made big strides in infrastructure construction and economic development in the past few years. More importantly, it has been essentially serving as an experimental area for cross-Straits communication and cooperation, said Liu Guoshen, dean of the university's Taiwan Research Institute, in an interview with thepaper.cn.

With a distance of 68 nautical miles, Pingtan is the closest place on the Chinese mainland to the island of Taiwan. It was approved as the country's first comprehensive experimental area that is opening up to Taiwan for communication and cooperation in 2009.

Xi, then the vice president of China, inspected Pingtan in September, 2010. He praised Pingtan's development strategies, and urged Pingtan to be an innovative trailblazer in cross-Straits communications.

The President has visited Pingtan on 20 occasions during his 17-year official tenure in Fujian and has a strong attachment to it, according to a report by Xinhua News Agency.

At a working symposium convened in Pingtan county on May 26, 1994, Xi, then the Party secretary of Fuzhou, shed light on the marine economy, saying it is going to be a new growth area of the Chinese economy.

He maintained caring for Pingtan when he worked as deputy Party secretary of Fujian Provincial Party Committee. He even wrote a congratulatory letter on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Pingtan County No.1 Middle School on Sept 20, 2002.

Endorsed by Xi, the provincial and central authorities, Pingtan has been leading the wave of cross-Straits integration in recent years. With the aim of becoming a "Common Homeland", Pingtan works hard to create a sound business environment and livable conditions for Taiwanese people.

The effects have been remarkable. As of Oct 2014, there are 261 Taiwan-funded enterprises in Pingtan. The duty-free Taiwan Commodity Market which opened in June is now a bigger brand with an increasing number of Taiwan's merchants settling in.

In July 2014, Pingtan became the largest area in China under customs supervision and management. It set up two customs checkpoints, one at the port area and the other near Haixia Bridge, which is the only overland entrance and exit to Pingtan, for better implementation of more preferential policies, especially tax.

Pingtan launched the Haixia, a high-speed passenger ferry that has been commuting between Pingtan and Taiwan on a regular basis, since 2010. Together with another passenger ship from Taiwan, Haixia has transported more than 310,000 people over the past four years.

"Pingtan is an experimental field for cross-Straits ties, which definitely draws a lot of attention from both sides of the Taiwan Straits, as a host of projects benefiting cross-Straits relations are going through pilot operations in Pingtan," said Liu.

"No doubt Pingtan will make more contribution to the flourishing of cross-Straits ties."