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Plan for strait economic zone

THE State Council, China's Cabinet, yesterday passed a plan to support the development of an economic zone facing Taiwan across the strait.

The plan, adopted at an executive meeting of the State Council, aimed to boost development in a region led by Fujian Province and promote cooperation between the region and Taiwan.

Such a plan for the zone was "more forceful measures" that need to be taken under the new circumstance of positive changes in cross-strait relations, according to the meeting presided by Premier Wen Jiabao.

The blueprint of an economic zone on the western side of the Taiwan Strait was included in the country's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) in 2006.

The new economic zone faces Taiwan across the strait, and neighbors the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta, two economic powerhouses on the mainland.

The zone would become a frontier platform to boost industrial and cultural exchanges across the strait, according to the plan. The zone, also covering parts of the neighboring provinces of Jiangxi and Guangdong, is part of the country's regional development strategy for coastal China.

Under the guidelines, the country would speed up infrastructure construction in the region to meet the demand for the "three direct links."

The mainland and Taiwan started historic direct flights, postal and shipping services on December 15, 2008, ending a 59-year ban on such links.

The new economic zone would aim to foster development of industries of specific characteristics, the State Council said without elaboration.

Regional coordination and cross-province cooperation would be stressed in the region to accelerate regional development in urban and rural areas, according to the plan.

The zone would also be able to try out major reforms, as a system for innovation would be established.

The plan would be revised before the details are made public.


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