The 126km line from Pingtan – a pilot free-trade zone area set up by Beijing in Fujian province in 2013 to boost trade with Taiwan – to Taipei would be the world’s longest rail tunnel if the proposal is realized.
According to the 13th five-year plan from 2016 to 2020, the project is scheduled to be completed in 2030.
“The Pingtan-Taipei section is part of the Beijing-Taipei high-speed rail line that has been studied for more than a decade. The mainland part has been completed while the Taiwan part is awaiting Taiwan’s approval,” Pingtan Experimental Development Zone head Zhang Zhaomin said at a National People’s Congress panel discussion yesterday.
“There is no technical barrier to the cross-strait rail line. We have gathered advice from experts cross the Taiwan Strait and they have done research and met every year over the past decade.”
The project is controversial in Taiwan but Taipei-based political commentator Wang Shing-ching said the island could be won over if the mainland could convince the public it could be built.
“In Taiwan, the public has focused on the technical issues so far, but people with a long-term strategic view of cross-strait ties could be convinced [of its value],” Wang said. “The project indicates the mainland is confident that [pro-independence] Democratic Progressive Party chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen will not clearly deny the ‘1992 consensus’ on her inauguration speech on May 20 to become Taiwan’s president.”
China's planned high speed rail in 2030
The proposal for a transit link across the 180-kilometer (110-mile) Taiwan Strait to the self-ruled island was referred to only in passing in the draft of the 2016-20 development plan released Saturday in Beijing. The document mentions the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, as a potential rail destination by 2030 and features a map of the train system, with a proposed rail line connecting the city with the mainland city of Fuzhou.
The Channel Tunnel is a 50.5-kilometre (31.4 mi) rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent, in the United Kingdom, with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais, near Calais in northern France, beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is 75 m (250 ft) deep. At 37.9 kilometres (23.5 mi), the tunnel has the longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world, although the Seikan Tunnel in Japan is both longer overall at 53.85 kilometres (33.46 mi) and deeper at 240 metres (790 ft) below sea level.
The Taiwan Strait Tunnel Project is a proposed undersea tunnel to connect Pingtan in China to Hsinchu in Taiwan as part of the G3 Beijing–Taipei Expressway. At nearly 150 km, the proposed tunnel would be nearly three times longer than the Channel Tunnel.
A taiwan strait tunnel and high speed rail project would cost around $80 billion.