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County Government Visited Xiamen by Invitation to Discuss Development through Cross-Strait Exchange

County Government Visited Xiamen by Invitation to Discuss Development through Cross-Strait Exchange
2017/11/23
Reporter: Yang Shuei-Yong / Xiamen

Kinmen County Magistrate Chen Fu-Hai, along with the county government entourage, arrived at Xiamen through the Mini Three Links route by invitation from the Xiamen Municipal Government. Magistrate Chen met with Jheng Jha-Jie, the deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council PRC, as well as discussed the issue of “floating objects in the ocean” with officials in charge of Taiwan affairs in Xiamen and Fujian, bringing forth possibility of transporting these objects back to Mainland China. In addition, Magistrate Chen also had a dialogue with Deputy Director Jheng and the personnel of the Taiwan Affairs Office on the livelihood of the Kinmen residents, in hopes of collaboration on matters that are significant and beneficial to residents on both sides of the Strait.
Magistrate Chen, along with Deputy Magistrate Wu Cheng-Tien, Executive Officer Wong Zi-Bao, Director of the Education Department Li Wun-Liang, Deputy Director of the Tourism Department Li Ming-Pei, Deputy Director of the Civil Affairs Department Syu Huei-Ting, Deputy Director-general of the Cultural Affairs Bureau Huang Ya-Fen, Magistrate’s Secretary He Guo-Chu, Chairman of the Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc. Chang Ming-Jen, Chief of Staff of the Industrial Development and Investment Promotion Committee Wang Jhong-Sheng, Manager of the Environmental Protection Bureau Cai Yuan-Ming, Section Chief of the Mainland Affairs Section of the Tourism Department Cai Bai-Li and Section Assistant Ye Syun, arrived at Xiamen City at 10:30 A.M yesterday by the Mini Three Links passenger ship for a one-day visit.
Magistrate Chen visited Xiamen upon invitation with the main purpose of discussing the issue of transporting floating objects found in Kinmen back to Mainland China with the Mainland China officials. Every year, Kinmen has seen a total of approximately 500 tons of objects drifting from Mainland China and their impact on the Kinmen coastline environment, bringing a tricky problem of how to address the issue. The testing of the transport of buoys that drifted from the Mainland was closely discussed by both parties and brought forth the possibility of returning such objects back to Mainland China. It is anticipated that the first trial transport of ocean drifting objects to Mainland China will be conducted soon with cooperation between both parties. At the same time, Magistrate Chen thanked Deputy Secretary of the Xiamen Municipal Committee Chen Ciou-Syong and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Xiamen Municipal Government for their assistance in this matter, and stated that he believed that the Kinmen residents would feel the difference.
The two sides of the Strait are one big family. Magistrate Chen mentioned that in early September, Xiamen hosted the BRICS Summit and Kinmen participated in the event with joy and shared in the glory. Regarding the future development of Kinmen, he believed that “gambling is not the only option”; however, it is still necessary to give much thought on the direction of future development as it is an important issue.
Magistrate Chen stated that since he took office, he has hoped to establish a friendly environment for the development of Kinmen. The industry in Kinmen is led by the Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc. (KKL) and yet the development of KKL has met a bottleneck. In the future, the method to obtain a breakthrough and to augment sales of Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor in the Mainland China market would seem to rely on the concept of “Kinmen for both sides of the Strait and Kinmen for Fujian” as well as the policies like zero tariff or tax exemption module of Hong Kong and Macao origin products. This would encourage the sales of KKL. Magistrate Chen also expressed his gratitude to Xiamen for choosing Kinmen kaoliang as gifts for the BRICS Summit.
With respect to the development in tourism in Kinmen and Xiamen, Magistrate Chen believed that among the fifty to sixty million tourists in Xiamen, if a part of them can be encouraged to visit Kinmen, it would be helpful to the tourism industry in Kinmen. In addition, with the shortcut and convenience provided by the Mini Three Links route between Kinmen and Xiamen, it will be possible to create something meaningful for both sides of the Strait, which also benefits Kinmen.
Currently the Kinmen County Council is holding its regular conference and interpellation. It was only with the support of the Council and the councilors that Magistrate Chen could spare time to visit Xiamen and meet with Deputy Directer of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council PRC Jheng Jha-Jie, along with the directors, deputy directors and officials from the Department of Economy, Department of Exchange, and the Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs Office of the Ministry of Public Security. He hoped that the future development of Kinmen can be promoted with the help from the Mainland China.
Kinmen has been developing the beef cattle farming industry for over twenty years. Currently there are approximately 6,000 cattle in Kinmen and the number could reach approximately 20,000. Recently, as affected by epidemics, the live cattle are prohibited to be sold in Taiwan, becoming a bottleneck in the development of the industry. Magistrate Chen stated that it would help the livestock industry in Kinmen greatly if Kinmen beef could be sold to Mainland China.
The economy of Kinmen mainly relies on tourism. Although the number of Taiwanese visitors and Mainland Chinese visitors has seen a small growth this year, Magistrate Chen suggested that it would be helpful to proceed with the measures and policies on removing barriers for tourism. The matters of which Mainland China is in charge, such as the 1-year multiple entry visa, can be implemented on Kinmen first. Meanwhile, Magistrate Chen emphasized that certain special policies are needed to promote the cross-strait exchange, including exchange on education and religion. This can be done through cooperation and thus Kinmen and Xiamen would have more opportunities of collaboration.
Over the past three years, Kinmen has been establishing a friendly environment and platform for cross-strait exchange in order to promote the friendship and cooperation between Kinmen and Xiamen. Magistrate Chen believed that a life circle enclosing Kinmen and Xiamen has been formed and it is time to contemplate establishing a “uniform calling price zone” for Kinmen and Xiamen. Moreover, there are 2,187 Mainland Chinese spouses residing in Kinmen. This number, combined with that of foreign spouses, would indicate that one in every 15.67 households has a spouse who is not Taiwanese. If the “uniform calling price zone” can be implemented for Kinmen and Xiamen, it would ease the burden of long-distance calls for these spouses and the Kinmen-Xiamen life circle would be even more suitable for living and has better welfare for the residents.
Since Kinmen and China signed of the water supply connection agreement between on July 20th, 2015, the construction has been ongoing. Currently the submarine pipeline is near completion. Magistrate Chen appreciated the assistance offered by the Fujian Province that make it possible for the two sides of the Strait to share the same water resource. It is anticipated that as soon as the first half of the next year, the water supply system can start. He also invited Deputy Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council PRC Jheng Jha-Jie to visit Kinmen to understand the outcome of cross-strait collaboration on water supply.
Magistrate Chen stated that during the Cold War, Kinmen went through the Battle of Guningtou, the 823 Artillery Bombardment and many other battles. Local residents suffered from the war and sacrificed a lot. He hoped that Kinmen could receive more assistance and believed that Kinmen is the key to a peaceful cross-strait development. He also appreciated the assistance to Kinmen given by Mainland China and hoped that there would be better future policies that benefits Kinmen.
The Mini Three Links between Kinmen and Xiamen is in its 17th year. It facilitates the cross-strait traffic and last year, a total of more than 1.7 million persons used the service. Currently the Taiwan government is suggesting an upgrade for the Mini Three Links. Magistrate Chen also stated that he hoped that Mainland China could provide more policies favorable to Kinmen residents to encourage young residents to stay in their hometown while establishing their career. In addition, with respect to cross-strait exchange and cooperation, Magistrate Chen believed that the exchange and cooperation between Kinmen and Xiamen could be realized through dialogue and efforts from both sides.
Deputy Magistrate Wu Cheng-Tien also mentioned the issues regarding the direction of the development of Kinmen after the BRICS Summit and under current cross-strait development. With frequent cooperation and exchange across the Strait, it is time to contemplate what developments Kinmen could have with an upgraded Mini Three Links. At the same time, he believed that there was no need for Mainland China to be overly cautious about the policies favorable to Kinmen and any further support will be appreciated. Wu also suggested that both sides set up offices on Dadeng Island and use the old Kinmen County Government building for matters beneficial to the cross-strait exchange.
Deputy Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council PRC Jheng Jha-Jie stated that the matters associated with Kinmen related to him not just in the meeting yesterday but also on a personal level. He also brought forth a practical viewpoint on the development of Kinmen and recommended that Kinmen should have a long-term blueprint for the development. At the same time, he stated that he was willing to contemplate cooperation on natural gas supply besides water and electricity. Jheng also complimented Magistrate Chen on his suggestions of the policies favorable to Kinmen and he would make further discussion and organization on the matter. He sincerely believed that both sides of the Strait are a family and expressed willingness to address exchange matters between Kinmen and Xiamen with such belief in mind.

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  • Date:2018-01-02