Concept Art for the Taiwan Strait land bridge story I posted over the weekend. (I drew this concept art from memory of what I have seen from a rough plan of the project). Link to previous article: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90776/90882/7185964.html
In 2008, Chinese and Taiwanese organizations began conceptualizing cross strait rail and highway projects, in light of implementation of “direct” shipping and flight.
1st set of concepts involved 3 separate tunnels under the ocean, 1 in the north, 1 in the middle, 1 in the south, connecting Taiwan to Mainland on 3 separate points.
However, this idea was dropped, it seems, because the instability of the ocean floor in the Strait.
The more recent idea in end of 2010, is to build a land bridge, at the northern part of Taiwan connecting to Fujian, crossing 100KM.
This involves, 1st building an artificial peninsula about 50KM out from Fujian, 2nd building an artificial peninsula about 25KM out from Taiwan side, and then connecting the 2 peninsula via a suspension bridge of about 25KM. (Some have thought of this as building a 100KM long suspension bridge).
The longest land bridge in the World is in China, approximately 32KM long, currently, but that’s in substantially more shallow water than would be for the Taiwan Strait.
*There are some charity organizations collecting money for this project, but I wouldn’t endorse any of them, since I don’t have their financial records on hand to examine.
brilliant idea as i mentioned before; btw, will cargo ships be allowed to pass through?
it’s not just a boon for commerce, it’ll also prevent carrier groups from passing through.
Charles Liu says
Might be too ambitious? Also unless cross-strait political issue is resolved, it ain’t happening.
The question is, can a land bridge be built without political union between the two sides? And will unification even happen in our life times?
From my observation of Ma, I don’t think he’s the guy. The pan-blue camp seems little different from the green these days. Both are afraid of unification.
Edit: Ninja’d by Charles Liu. 🙂
I think raventhorn2000 had a hard time drawing a tunnel. 😉
4x the distance of the eurotunnel. But, hey, Chinese people like scale.
Yeah, I too think this will take a while.
It’s not a tunnel any more. It’s supposed to be 2 peninsula’s and 1 suspension bridge. I guess my doodling was pretty bad. 🙂
Yes, it is called the “Great Wall on the Sea”, precisely because it would serve effectively as a natural barrier to curb military vessel traffic.
It might be politically ambitious, and I cannot see Taiwan side actually agreeing to it, considering the high cost of building the peninsula’s.
But part of the project, is to push for political Unification, via Carrot and Stick.
(1) The 2 peninsula’s are built as new economic development zones, about 100 Square Miles of prime real estate, beach front properties, commercial and industrial zones, and shipping ports.
(2) technology sharing, the project will undoubtedly require and generate new artificial island building technologies, which can be used elsewhere, such as in South China Sea.
(3) Taiwan stands to benefit from the project more, as mainland will undoubtedly shoulder the bulk of the expense.
(1) The artificial peninsula from Fujian will be built and extended to the Mid-point of the Strait, which will put Taiwan coast within 50 miles of main land China. (Many military strategists would compare such a project to Alexander The Great’s conquest of the city of Tyre, where Alexander built a land bridge extending to the island city of Tyre in order to bypass Tyre’s naval defenses).
(2) Even if Taiwan side does not complete the bridge, mainland China’s strategic reach would get closer to Taiwan and cover a wider area of interdiction against potential outside interventions. (it’s called “closing the gap).
(3) while none of this actually translates into any actual plans of invading Taiwan, the mainland side Peninsula would provide an additional option for military planners (an extra option is another advantage that tips the balance).
*Of course, the above are merely my speculations, but undoubtedly, US and Taiwan military analysts probably already realize similar implications of such a project.
Lastly, it is a symbolic gesture of Chinese resolve to reunification with Taiwan. If China can build even the 50 Mile long artificial peninsula, it would demonstrate China’s resolve.
(The funny part about this was, I recall reading a comment made on a US military strategy forum in the 1990’s, and the commenter was jokingly talking about Chinese can build a land bridge to invade Taiwan, to make up for the lack of troop transport ships, or what they called the “Million Chinese Swim Invasion”. I wish he could see this article now to appreciate the irony).
At the present time, I heard rumors that mainland side had already began the construction of 1 of the peninsula’s. (Taiwan side, I was told, “did not object”).
Of course, the danger of the ambiguity is that sooner or later, when it becomes apparent that mainland side might actually build the peninsula, Taiwan and US may call the project “illegal” as “creeping invasion” of Taiwan, and as preventing the “freedom of navigation”.
(I would like to note that this is my prediction for future reference).
My suggestion to Chinese government is to market the project openly and publicly. (There may be some questions of legality of the project, under the UNCLOS treaty. It’s better to get them out in the open right now and get them resolved.
I believe they are planning a bridge between Xiamen and Jinmen. If that one go smoothly then we can talk about this one. This is a great idea though.
The following portion of UNCLOS treaty, relevant to building of artificial islands:
Artificial islands, installations and structures
in the exclusive economic zone
1. In the exclusive economic zone, the coastal State shall have the exclusive right to construct and to authorize and regulate the construction, operation and use of:
(a) artificial islands;
(b) installations and structures for the purposes provided for in article 56 and other economic purposes;
(c) installations and structures which may interfere with the exercise of the rights of the coastal State in the zone.
2. The coastal State shall have exclusive jurisdiction over such artificial islands, installations and structures, including jurisdiction with regard to customs, fiscal, health, safety and immigration laws and regulations.
3. Due notice must be given of the construction of such artificial
islands, installations or structures, and permanent means for giving warning
of their presence must be maintained. Any installations or structures which
are abandoned or disused shall be removed to ensure safety of navigation,
taking into account any generally accepted international standards established
in this regard by the competent international organization. Such removal shall
also have due regard to fishing, the protection of the marine environment and
the rights and duties of other States. Appropriate publicity shall be given to
the depth, position and dimensions of any installations or structures not
4. The coastal State may, where necessary, establish reasonable safety
zones around such artificial islands, installations and structures in which it
may take appropriate measures to ensure the safety both of navigation and of
the artificial islands, installations and structures.
5. The breadth of the safety zones shall be determined by the coastal
State, taking into account applicable international standards. Such zones shall
be designed to ensure that they are reasonably related to the nature and
function of the artificial islands, installations or structures, and shall not
exceed a distance of 500 metres around them, measured from each point of
their outer edge, except as authorized by generally accepted international
standards or as recommended by the competent international organization.
Due notice shall be given of the extent of safety zones.
6. All ships must respect these safety zones and shall comply with
generally accepted international standards regarding navigation in the vicinity
of artificial islands, installations, structures and safety zones.
7. Artificial islands, installations and structures and the safety zones
around them may not be established where interference may be caused to the
use of recognized sea lanes essential to international navigation.
8. Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the
status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence
does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic
zone or the continental shelf.
*In other words, it looks perfectly legal for China to build the artificial peninsula out to 50 miles in the Strait.
China might be within its rights, but could also backfire on China if they build the islands without Taiwan’s consent. We have to remember that people don’t like to be pushed into something they don’t want to be a part of.
Also alot has been said about how economic dependency will help bring about unification, but I recall a book I read from someone (I believe Paul Kennedy) that argues the opposite is true. Economic cooperation between Germany and France were at their heights before both World wars. Similarly, increasing economic ties between China and the US has created a list of issues. The point is politics drive economic issues and not the other way around.
fortunately, Taiwan is informed of this project, and Taiwan does not object to it (so far).
Also, even if mainland only completes its 1/2 of the project, and build the land bridge to mid way of the Strait, that might be sufficient. It will provide enough boom to mainland, whether Taiwan goes along with it. (It woudl be their own fault for missing out on the project. So they would have to consider the pro’s and con’s.)
In that sense, Any thing China builds, a factory here or there, a new port, etc., may be a boom for China but a loss of opportunity for someone else. (Or it could be a complete waste for China).
But that’s the risks of competition.
Taiwan may take the “wait and see” approach, but if it waits too long, it will likely miss out.
Same can be said of “Reunification”. Taiwan may take the “status quo” and “wait and see” approach, but hey, mainland may decide 1 day that “reunification” is too costly and China is developed enough to NOT need Taiwan. Well, then, Taiwan would miss out.
In the history of “missing out”, the “wait and see” people often regret their “wait and see”.
For example, Kuwait was once poor, and petitioned to join Iraq, and Iraq balked at the idea. But then, Kuwait discovered its oil reserve. Then, turn around, Iraq wants Kuwait, Kuwait doesn’t want to be with Iraq any more.
Black Pheonix says
It appears that a bridge and a tunnel were both proposed.