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China's Pingtan project should be discussed under ECFA: premier

2012/03/16 23:15:30

Taipei, March 16 (CNA) Premier Sean Chen said Friday that Taiwan and China should use the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) to discuss a "joint management" economic development project proposed by China to avoid any political ramifications.

The "joint management" principle proposed by China for the Pingtan Experimental Development Zone gives the public a "one country, two systems" feel, Chen said at a legislative hearing when responding to lawmakers' questions.

The area's lack of fundamental infrastructure and a population of only 390,000 people in the zone's 370 square kilometers has given Taiwan the sense that the motive behind China's Pingtan project is not purely economic in nature, he said.

The best way to discuss the project is under the ECFA, which will help Taiwan identify the mainland's true motives and whether the infrastructure in Pingtan is adequate, he stressed.

Chen's remark came after the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said a day earlier that Taiwan has not and will not endorse the development plan for Pingtan, a Chinese island being touted by China as an "experimental zone" for joint cross-strait development.

In an effort to lure Taiwanese businessmen to the island, which lies off the coast of Fujian Province, China is pitching the concept of "joint planning, development, operation, management and benefits" between Taiwan and China.

The MAC said the Chinese government overemphasized the principle of "joint management," which Taiwan cannot endorse.

Beijing has touted the "one country, two systems" formula now in place in Hong Kong and Macau in pushing for unification with Taiwan, but Taipei has rejected the formula.

(By Wen Guei-hsiang and Ann Chen)