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Two frontline islets in Kinmen to open for tourism

TAIPEI -- Visitors will soon have the opportunity to explore the frontline islets of Dadan and Erdan in outlying Kinmen County as the jurisdiction over the islets is being transferred from the military to the Kinmen County government in the coming week.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah will preside over the handover ceremony to be held on Dadan on Monday and deliver a speech on the occasion.

He is expected to highlight the significance of opening the two islets from educational and historical perspectives and also discuss the prospects for tourism on the islets, which are part of the Kinmen archipelago.

Jiang will also visit remnants of Dadan's past that have historical military significance, such as rocks inscribed with Chinese characters that encouraged the soldiers stationed there to defend the islet as well as their country.

After the handover ceremony, the Kinmen County government will formally take over jurisdiction of Dadan and Erdan on July 1.

The transfer will help reposition the islets as tourist destinations and boost the local economy while also giving the public easier access to an important part of Taiwan's history, according to the government.

Located just over four kilometers from the Chinese city of Xiamen, Dadan and Erdan are known as “the frontline of the frontlines.”

They are three times as far from the main island of Kinmen as from the Chinese coast and were the focus of intense artillery battles with communist Chinese forces in 1950 and again in 1958.

No civilians currently live on the two islets, but they still have a military presence of about 200 soldiers.

After the handover of Dadan and Erdan, the military is expected to reduce its presence there and turn over the islands' security to the Coast Guard Administration and the police.

Dadan and Erdan have areas of 0.79 and 0.28 square kilometers, respectively.

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