Taiwanese MPs sceptical of Beijing's rail plan

TAIPEI • Some lawmakers in Taiwan have accused China of using the project to link Beijing and Taipei by high-speed rail to reinforce the idea that Taiwan is part of China.

The project, which was made public at the National People's Congress in Beijing last Saturday, was listed as part of the five-year plan China wants to accomplish by 2020.

But Taiwan's Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Jian-yu said on Monday that the two sides have yet to communicate over the construction of the proposed high-speed rail system.

He was fielding questions at a meeting of the legislature's Transportation Committee in Taipei when he was asked by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators about the project, the Taipei Times reported.

"I have no information. It would be more than just a transportation issue," he said. "China has yet to talk to us (about the project)."

In the past, China had proposed other projects, from building a freeway linking Taipei and Beijing to including Taiwan in its rail network.

Accusing China of trying to take advantage of Taiwan by considering the proposed rail link as an extension of its national transport network, DPP legislator Lin Chun- hsien told Mr Chen not to "waste time doing feasibility research on the project. Just ignore them next time they bring up a similar project".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2016, with the headline 'Taiwanese MPs sceptical of Beijing's rail plan'. Print Edition | Subscribe