China’s Plans for a Beijing – Taipei Expressway

It's not about the road, it's about politics

Aris Teon , March 7, 2016 9:50am

Over the past thirty years China has launched a series of ambitious infrastructure projects. After creating the world’s largest high-speed railway network (19,000 km, accounting for 60 percent of high-speed trains mileage globally), last year Beijing came up with an overwhelming plan to build an undersea railroad to the United States.

For China, however, infrastructure has not only economic but also political implications. So with the famous Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which, according to the government, is promoting the “integration of Tibet with the interior of China”.

The Beijing-Taipei Express Highway, which is currently under construction, will serve a similar purpose: advancing the one-China principle.

The project was announced on January 13, 2005 by the Ministry of Infrastructure of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which pledged to expand the country’s highway network so as to cover all cities with a population exceeding 200,000. Beijing did not consult the Taiwanese authorities, though. Chen Qimai (陳其邁), then-spokesperson of the Executive Yuan of the Republic of China (Taiwan), described the project as “political propaganda” (政治宣傳).

Beijing has also proposed a highway encircling the island of Taiwan, the so-called G99 Taiwan Ring Expressway, according to the terminology of the PRC. The expressway would connect the cities of Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Taitung, Hualian, Yilan, Keelung.

The Fujian section of the Beijing-Taipei Express Highway has been completed, connecting the cities of Jian’ou, Minhou, Nanping, Ningde and Fuzhou.

Aris Teon

A blogger writing about Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.