Premier visits outlying Kinmen islands
CNATAIPEI -- Premier Jiang Yi-huah on Sunday visited several scenic spots in outlying Kinmen County, where two frontline islands, Dadan and Erdan, are expected to be opened to tourists in the future on condition that troops remain stationed there.
October 28, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
While visiting Kinmen factories that produce the popular peanut candy, fine noodles and chopper knives on Sunday morning, Jiang praised the high quality of the natural fine noodles as an example of quality food products made in Taiwan.
In the afternoon, Jiang went to the Kinmen Defense Command for several briefings on opening of Dadan and Erdan to tourists.
Yang Cheng-wu, director of Kinmen County's tourism department, said in his briefing that according to the county's proposal, the two islets will be open for a two-year trial run beginning September 2015 to groups of young people and former servicemen who were stationed there.
The goal is to open the islets to the general public from September 2017, he said. Future tourists are expected to include many people from China.
The premier's visit came two days after he answered questions at the Legislative Yuan, saying there continues to be a need for a troop presence on Dadan and Erdan islands, although the number of troops might be reduced.
Jiang said a decision on whether to allow tourists to visit the docks or other specific points of interest is expected following his fact-finding mission. He did not announce any decisions on Sunday.
Officials had said earlier that at the request of the of Kinmen County authorities -- which includes Erdan and Dadan-- the two islands are expected to be opened to tourism next year, with their 200 troops being replaced by some 40 coast guard and police personnel.
Located just over 4,000 meters from the Chinese city of Xiamen, Dadan and Erdan are known as “the frontline of the frontlines.” Their distance from the main island of Kinmen is nearly three times as great.
The islands were the scene of artillery battles with communist Chinese forces in 1950 and again in 1958.