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Taiwan residents can ferry to China

Travel agents said they hope the MAC will ease restrictions on Chinese arrivals in Kinmen and Matsu.

“We hope tourists arriving here from China will be granted 72-hour visa free privilege on arrival,” said Yang Tsai-ping, president of the Kinmen Association of Travel Agents.

Given visa-free permission in Kinmen, Chinese tourists will be able to continue to board planes on the offshore island to travel to Taiwan.

Lee Chu-feng, magistrate of Kinmen, is urging President Ma Ying-jeou to consider demilitarizing the offshore county.

Kuomintang lawmakers believe the large garrison in the county of Kinmen may be withdrawn because it is no longer necessary to continue Taiwan’s symbolic gesture of defense against a Chinese invasion.

A People’s Liberation Army division invaded Kinmen in 1950. The invasion was successfully repelled. An artillery duel started on August 23, 1957. Known as the Quemoy crisis, it lasted for two months.

No hostilities have since taken place.

Lin Yu-fang and Suai Hua-min, the two legislators, said the change in warfare has made it unnecessary for Taiwan to keep a large garrison in Kinmen.

“Instead,” Lin said, “we should try to create a peace corridor between Kinmen and Xiamen.”

Demilitarization will pose no danger to Taiwan national security, said Suai, a retired army lieutenant general.

The Ministry of National Defense has made plans for Kinmen’s demilitarization after Taipei gave up Chiang Kai-shek’s attempt at a counteroffensive to retake China, Suai said.

“We didn’t enforce it lest we should raise suspicion that the Republic of China in Taiwan is forsaking Kinmen and Matsu,” Suai said. “Now that Kinmen is on its own feet economically,” he added, “the withdrawal of the garrison won’t affect its economy.”

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 Taiwan residents can ferry to China 
Taiwan residents planning to visit China show passports at Kinmen. They were the first group of tourists who flew to Kinmen to hop on a ferry to cross to Amoy or Xiamen after the Cabinet allowed residents in Taiwan to visit China via Kinmen or Matsu yesterday.(CNA)

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