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9th national park to open south of Penghu County

TAIPEI -- Four islets south of outlying Penghu County (澎湖縣) are set to be designated on June 8 as Taiwan's ninth national park, which will officially open in October, an Interior Ministry official said yesterday.

The new park, situated to the east of Wang-an and Qimei islands in the south of the Penghu islands, encompasses Dongji, Dongyuping, Xiji and Xiyuping islets, as well as their surrounding waters.

The park covers a land area of 370 hectares and a sea area of 35,473 hectares in the Taiwan Strait. Its boundary overlaps with that of Taijiang National Park in southwestern Taiwan, according to data provided by the ministry.

The official reported during a Cabinet meeting that the four islets in the park are composed mainly of ocean basalt and are characterized by a wide array of geological features, marine biodiversity and abundant examples of early human habitation.

After the national park is inaugurated, the ministry will promote conservation of resources in the park, including the preservation and reinvigoration of traditional settlements, setting up environmentally friendly public service facilities, promoting education on protection of the marine environment and in-depth ecological tours, according to the official.

In addition, the ministry will devote efforts to protecting coral reefs and conserving marine resources in the waters of the park.

After listening to the briefing, Premier Jiang Yi-huah directed the Interior Ministry's Construction and Planning Agency to take measures regarding the future operations and management of the park, including preserving natural resources, protecting the rights of local residents and promoting ecology travel and tourism.

Taiwan currently has eight national parks: Kenting (墾丁), Kinmen (金門), Shei-Pa (雪壩), Taroko (太魯閣), Yangmingshan (陽明山), Yushan (玉山), Dongsha Marine (東沙海域) and Taijiang (台江).

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This photograph taken in Penghu County (澎湖縣) shows a basalt cliff. Four islets south of outlying Penghu County will be announced on June 8 as Taiwan's ninth national park, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) said yesterday, adding that the national park will officially be opened in October. (CNA)

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