Preliminary planning of an electricity grid that will send mainland power to Jinmen and Matsu - islets near Taiwan that also lie off the coast of Xiamen, Fujian province - has been completed, according to a national lawmaker from Xiamen.
The province has also finished plans for a water pipeline to Matsu, said Chen Zixuan, a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress, during a panel discussion at the ongoing gathering of the top legislature in Beijing on March 6.
"The province has already finished preparatory work and will continue to promote the integrated development of Fujian and Taiwan" said Chen, who is deputy director of the Standing Committee of the Xiamen People's Congress.
Xiamen, Jinmen and Matsu are separated by a narrow stretch of water and they have geographical, linguistic and cultural commonalities.
While addressing a gathering in Beijing to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan in January, President Xi Jinping called for closer cross-Straits ties and proposed connecting Fujian to the islands of Jinmen and Matsu via water and gas pipelines, a power grid and a bridge.
"For a long time, residents of the two islets have been hoping the mainland would help ease their water and power shortages, and a bridge connecting Xiamen to Jinmen is also part of their long-standing wishes," she said, adding that the projects are important to the livelihoods of people in the area.
In August, a 28-kilometer pipeline delivering 34,000 cubic meters of water per day from Fujian to Jinmen came online to alleviate water shortages on the islet.
Fujian is also taking the lead in offering favorable policies to improve the lives of Taiwan residents who study, work or run businesses on the mainland.
Chen said 176 Taiwan-funded companies in Fujian took part in a tax reduction policy for high-tech enterprises last year, with a total of 758 million yuan ($112 million) in deductions realized.
Last year, 490 Taiwan students applied to study at universities in Fujian, up 67 percent over the previous year. About 12,200 Taiwan residents came to the province for work or to start their own businesses in 2018, an increase of 87.5 percent over the previous year, she said.
Another NPC deputy, Zhuang Jiahan, who is mayor of Xiamen, said, "We welcome and support exchanges with cities in Taiwan on the basis of adhering to the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China policy."
Zhuang said he is looking forward to meeting Han Kuo-yu, mayor of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, who will visit Hong Kong, Macao, Xiamen and Shenzhen in Guangdong province at the end of this month to seek more cooperation with mainland cities.
"Han hopes to sell Kaohsiung's agricultural products to the mainland and attract mainland tourists to the city," said Zhuang, adding that it will increase the well-being of compatriots on both sides.
During his election campaign in November, Han said the city should deepen cooperation with the mainland to boost its economy. He gained popularity with his slogan, "Goods go out, people come in, and Kaohsiung makes a fortune."