Hong Kong : China is seeking unification with Taiwan under its ‘one country, two systems’ formula by which Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997. And Kinmen, or ‘Golden Gate’, is a test for China’s ambitions to recover Taiwan through soft power.
Soldiers on the tiny Taiwan-held island of Kinmen have been since long, conducting regular military drills and working on befitting amphibious attacks by Chinese Communist troops from the mainland with no solution at hand. But a move by Chinese initiative would soon bring about some solution and it is anticipated that the problem may soon be worked towards resolution through a soft power option rather than fire power option route hence forth for this tiny Taiwan-held island of Kinmen.
The war games have been a reminder that this place was the issue of discord between China and Taiwan and had always resulted in fire power and destruction due to China’s aim at gaining control of a territory it considered its own. Kinmen, with a population of less than 129,000, is a half-hour ferry ride to China, but it takes an hour to fly to major Taiwan cities.
As a soft power route, Kinmen has begun eyeing closer commercial ties with China. It is aiming at materializing pipe water from Xiamen and has plans to build a bridge and set up a glittering free trade zone with the city. It is also the site of a brand new, six-story, duty-free shopping mall, billed as the largest in Asia.
‘In Kinmen, we can do what Taiwan can’t, what Taiwan doesn’t dare do,’ said Kinmen county chief Chen Fu-hai, who wanted water, electricity and natural gas to be pumped from Xiamen.
Chen has a three-year roadmap to build a special economic zone in which Kinmen can share Xiamen’s economy. The proposal is being promoted by a pro-Beijing, non-profit organization in Taiwan with close ties to the Communist Party. It wants Kinmen to decide on the free trade zone issue by referendum.
But it would still have to get the nod from the central government before a referendum can take place. The free trade zone is controversial because it would allow unfettered Chinese investment on to Kinmen – something that is strictly controlled in Taiwan as a whole.