Transport chiefs in Fujian province are seeking to encourage cross-Straits travel by permitting Taiwan-registered vehicles to be used in Pingtan county and pressing for similar arrangements for vehicles from Pingtan in Taiwan, a senior official said.
“Fujian’s Department of Transportation is working on a program that will allow vehicles from Taiwan, including sedans and trucks, to be driven in Pingtan,” said Zhang Zhaomin, a deputy to the National People’s Congress and head of the department.
In April, a truck from Taiwan carrying a golden statue of Mazu, the traditional Chinese goddess of the sea who is worshipped by people across the Straits, was allowed on the roads in Pingtan. It had been taken there aboard the ferry Haixia that travels between Pingtan and Taiwan’s Taichung and Taipei.
The department gave the vehicle the green light because it came to Pingtan for a Mazu pilgrimage event. The case was a breakthrough for cross-Straits transportation, as the vehicle was the first from Taiwan to be driven in Fujian, Zhang said.
“The case inspired us to create a mechanism that will welcome more cars from Taiwan,” Zhang said.
Vehicles from Taiwan will be transferred aboard cargo ships, and there will be no time limit on how long they can be used in Pingtan. Issues such as registration plates, vehicle licenses and driving licenses are still under discussion.
Zhang said the provincial government has been negotiating with the authorities in Taiwan with a view to making it possible for cars from Pingtan to be driven in Taiwan.
“The detailed plan will be announced as soon as possible,” Zhang added.
Pingtan covers an area of 324 square kilometers and is the closest point on the mainland to Taiwan.