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Kinmen-Xiamen Economic and Trade Talks: Magistrate and Vice Mayor of Xiamen City Establish Communication Platform Face-to-face

Kinmen-Xiamen Economic and Trade Talks: Magistrate and Vice Mayor of Xiamen City Establish Communication Platform Face-to-face
Reporter: Chen Kuan-Lin / Jinhu Township

The “Kinmen Xiamen Economic, Trade, and Tourism Cooperation and Exchange Forum” was held in Ever Rich Golden Lake Hotel in the afternoon yesterday (29th). The Kinmen side was represented by Magistrate Chen Fu-Hai, Deputy Magistrate Lin Te-Kung, Legislator Yang Cheng-Wu, Director-General Li Tseng-Tsai of the Tourism Department, and Chairman Chen Yung-Ming of Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc., and the Xiamen side was represented by Vice Mayor Ni Chao, Taiwan Affairs Director Huang Ho-Ming, Commerce Bureau Director Chen Li-Sheng, Travel Bureau Director Kung Shu-Kuang, and Harbor Management Bureau Director Wu Shun-Pin, 17 members in total from the Xiamen side. During the meeting the parties discussed the mini three links ferry schedule adjustment mechanism, Shuitou Port renovation, joint promotion of Kinmen’s tourism, simplification of offshore island on-arrival visa procedures, and practice of Kinmen tour guides in Xiamen. They also discussed establishing a Kinmen sea transport express area and overseas warehouse, relaxing restrictions on making investments in Kinmen, and connecting to Xiamen free trade zone, hoping to jointly increase tourists of the mini three links and drive the development of related industries.
Kinmen is in a key location in the Taiwan Strait, and plays a key role in the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. Magistrate Chen has actively visited both sides since last year (2015) to gain policies that are beneficial to Kinmen. The “Third High Level Cross-Strait Affairs Meeting (Hsia-Zhang Talks)” was held in Kinmen last May, and set an important milestone in cross-Strait development, making Kinmen’s livelihood issue a part of cross-Strait topics. The governor of Fujian Province visited Kinmen last July and completed the signing of a cross-Strait water supply agreement, the first agreement related to livelihood issues. Magistrate Chen visited the Taiwan Affairs Office, Ministry of Public Security, and National Tourism Administration in Beijing mid-December last year for the well-being of people in Kinmen and Xiamen, and made 3 proposals with 15 items concerning tourism, trade promotion, and environmental protection in Kinmen and Xiamen. Magistrate Chen stressed that Kinmen will develop the closest cross-Strait relations under the premise of “building stable cross-Strait relations to protect the livelihood and interests of people across the Taiwan Strait,” and make the greatest and most advantageous contribution to cross-Strait peace. Kinmen has change from the front line of war to the front line of exchange. Magistrate Chen indicated that the authorities on both sides should have a positive attitude towards cross-Strait development, and implement various policies in Kinmen first on a trial basis.
Before the meeting began, Magistrate Chen said that Kinmen and Xiamen are like family and thanked the officials from Xiamen for their assistance and support over the years. As the two sides are facing a crucial moment, Magistrate Chen specially thanked Kinmen people for giving him this opportunity. He said that he has researched Kinmen for 26 years. Kinmen was a battlefield during early periods and under military control, but war has passed and there is peace in the Taiwan Strait, so it is time for Kinmen to see the silver lining. Magistrate Chen specially thanked Director Zhang Zhijun of the Taiwan Affairs Office and Minister Hsia Li-Yen of the Mainland Affairs Council for holding the third High-Level Cross-Strait Affairs Meeting in Kinmen last May and focusing on livelihood issues. During the meeting, the two sides signed an agreement to channel water from Xiamen to Kinmen. Magistrate Chen said that water shortage is a serious issue in Kinmen, the mission of “connecting water” was completed in the third High-Level Cross-Strait Affairs Meeting, and the next mission is to “connect hearts,” especially the relationship between Kinmen and Xiamen, which play an important role in this historical moment. Magistrate Chen also mentioned that the during the Ma-Xi Summit they mentioned we must strive to do anything that will improve relations and well-being of people across the Taiwan Strait, improve peaceful cross-Strait relations, and improve the overall benefits of the Chinese people, and he hoped that Kinmen will play an important role in these efforts. Magistrate Chen recalls talking to President-elect Tsai Ing-Wen about Kinmen’s future role, and also went to Beijing to meet with Director Zhang Zhijun of the Taiwan Affairs Office, including interactions between Kinmen and Xiamen, the frame of mind viewing future developments; short-term and mid-term issues included the short-term goal of building a platform, and the meeting yesterday was the first step to building a platform. He believes that even greater efforts will be devoted into subsequent developments. The mid-term development goal is to make Kinmen a “Special Economic Zone of Peace,” a concept already proposed while Chen Shui-Bian was president. The long-term development goal is to create a friendly environment between Kinmen, Xiamen, Zhangzhou and Qianzhou. Magistrate Chen believes that if Taipei and Beijing know that Kinmen and Xiamen are like family, then many policies can be successfully implemented. Finally, Magistrate Chen hoped for peaceful exchange and a friendly environment between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to continue; he feels how strongly the people of both sides hope for and desire peace.
Vice Mayor Ni Chao of Xiamen City indicated that he felt a strong sense of family when the group of some 10 trade delegates arrived in Kinmen and that he was “very moved” to see everyone get along, and for everyone to have a family atmosphere when they first met. Ni Chao said they had two important missions: First is how Xiamen and Kinmen can “become closer and visit friends,” for residents of Kinmen and Xiamen to more frequently visit the other side and “become closer and closer”; second is for Xiamen and Kinmen to engage in pragmatic collaboration for the well-being of people in both places. Ni Chao mentioned that the Xiamen side did its homework before coming to Kinmen, and the feasibility of Magistrate Chen’s many proposals during his previous visit to Xiamen will be discussed in the meeting. She stressed that maybe not “all matters” will be decided in just one meeting, but by building the platform and implementing item by item, she believes it will certainly benefit people in both places.
Legislator Yang Cheng-Wu indicated that cross-Strait exchanges have become growingly in-depth in the past 8 years, but during the Ma Administration, many requests could not be made, many words could not be said, and many things could not be done out of fear of being targeted by Taiwan’s media. Eight years have passed and now is the time to be organized and say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done; it is also a chance to examine whether if efforts in the past 8 years have produced results. Yang Cheng-Wu believes that Kinmen and Xiamen have a special opportunity to do something due to their special environment. Cooperation between Kinmen and Xiamen also gives people of both sides an opportunity to see the fruits of friendly relations between the two sides, and that it will bring well-being and happiness for the people. In the special time that the DPP is in power, Yang Cheng-Wu pointed out that it is a time that cooperation between Kinmen and Xiamen will yield results, contrary to general belief. Yang Cheng-Wu is concurrently the deputy director of mainland affairs of the KMT. Based on his analysis, the KMT is no longer in power, the Straits Exchange Foundation and Mainland Affairs Council are now in the hands of the DPP, and it will take time to build a mutual trust mechanism. During this period of time, communication with the CCP will naturally fall in the hands of the KMT Mainland Affairs Department. Yang Cheng-Wu indicated that he is willing and glad to address local issues to highlight their importance, and he stressed that he will continue dedicate his efforts in this area.

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  • Date:2016-12-08