The Chinese government is proposing to construct a high-speed railway link between Taipei and mainland China, at Pingtan, Fuzhou.
If completed, the 126 kilometer route would be the world’s longest underground railway tunnel.
Plans for the railway line were included as part of China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, which said a cross-strait train route is “planned” and would be completed by 2030.
During the National People’s Congress, currently being held in Beijing, Pingtan County FTA director, Zhang Zhaomin, told media the project is technologically ready to proceed. The People’s Daily Online reported Zhang saying, “The realization of the project depends on the decision of Taiwan.”
But it may not be as simple as that. At a government meeting, Taiwan Minister of Transportation and Communications, Chen Jian-yu, said Beijing has been doing all of the planning: “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 through any channel of communication.”
However, Democratic Progressive Party legislator Lin Chun-hsien warned of an impending trap. “They [China] are taking advantage of us,” Lin said. “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.”
At 126 km, the proposed tunnel would be nearly three times longer than the Channel Tunnel. It is expected to cost somewhere around $80 billion, but funding for the project has not yet been announced.
China has proposed a number of ambitious rail projects before, including an underwater railway line connecting Dalian and Yantai, reducing travel times from ten hours to 30 minutes; a railway line between Beijing and Seoul that runs through North Korea; and connecting China and Nepal with a tunnel directly underneath Mount Everest.