Taiwan's Kinmen island begins importing water from China

BEIJING — The Taiwanese-controlled island of Kinmen located just off the Chinese coast has begun importing water from its neighbor via a pipeline despite heightened tensions between Beijing and Taipei.

Water from Jinjiang in China's Fujian province began flowing through the 16-kilometer (10-mile) -long pipeline Sunday under a 30-year contract.

The island, about three times the size of Manhattan, has long been short of water and hordes of tourists have put an extra strain on supplies.

The move shows how trade and other non-political ties have been relatively unaffected by the diplomatic freeze instituted two years ago by China, which claims Taiwan as a part of its territory to be annexed by force if necessary.

In recent months, China has increased Taiwan's diplomatic isolation and stepped up military threats by sending warplanes on patrols around the island and staging war games on its side of the Taiwan Strait.

It has also offered preferential terms for talented young people from the high-tech island to work in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing that offer much larger potential markets than those available in Taiwan.

China has taken an increasingly hard line since the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to endorse Beijing's insistence that Taiwan is a part of China.

Kinmen was retained by Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists as they fled the Communist takeover of the mainland in 1949. For years, it was bombarded by Communist artillery leaving it strewn with shells and its beaches covered in barbed wire.

With the end of open conflict, the island was opened to tourism in the 1990s and has grown increasingly popular with visitors from both China and Taiwan's main island. The $1.35 billion water project will provide Kinmen's 128,000 people with up to 55,000 tons of water per day.

The head of Kinmen's local government, Chen Fu-hai, has suggested the island could in future import electricity from China and even build a bridge to the mainland, drawing a rebuke from Taiwan's central government that such decisions weren't up to the local government alone.

People also read these

McDonald's sells China business in deal worth up to $2.1B

Jan 9, 2017

Fast-food giant McDonald's is selling a controlling stake in its China business to a group of...

China's growth edges up but 2016 weakest year since 1990

Jan 20, 2017

China reports its economy picked up pace in the last quarter, though its full-year performance was...

Trump in Asia: Region poised for change as new era dawns

Jan 24, 2017

People across Asia are poised for a potentially dramatic change in relations with Washington under...

What Trump's trade and geopolitical moves mean for China

Jan 24, 2017

With his rejection of an Asian trade pact, U.S. President Donald Trump has started tackling policy...

Asian stocks mixed after Wall Street ends little changed

Feb 3, 2017

Asian stocks are mixed after Wall Street ended little changed as China and other exchanges that...

AseanCoverage is a next-gen news site focusing exclusively on online news from South East Asia.

Contact us: sales[at]aseancoverage.com