Effective immediately, Taiwanese and foreign nationals holding valid travel papers will be allowed to enter China via the outlying islands of Kinmen or Matsu, the Executive Yuan announced yesterday.
Previously, only certain Taiwanese residents were allowed to visit China via the “small three links.” They had to be either Kinmen or Matsu residents for more than six months, civil servants working on the islands or relatives and spouses of Kinmen or Matsu residents working in Taiwan. Taiwanese nationals meeting certain other requirements were also allowed to use the links.
Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) told reporters after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting that the measure to expand the “small three links” with China was the realization of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) election promise to further relax cross-strait restrictions.
It was a provisional policy before full cross-strait direct transportation links become a reality, Lai said, adding that it was the wish of Kinmen and Matsu residents that their interests were protected and that opinions taken into account.
The ball is now in China’s court, she said, adding that Beijing might decide to let Chinese nationals outside of Fujian Province use the “small three links,” but she suspected they would be allowed to do so on a case by case basis.
Lai said the administration hoped to place the issue of increasing the number of Chinese nationals visiting via the “three small links” on the agenda at the next round of cross-strait negotiations between Taiwan’s quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait. Lai said both sides had agreed that it was an “urgent” issue to fully open the “small three links.”
As for the short and long-term development of Kinmen and Matsu, Lai said the Council for Economic Planning and Development would conduct an evaluation and formulate a plan within three months.
The “small three links” were launched on Jan. 1, 2001. As of the end of last month, over 1.3 million people have visited China via the route.
Meanwhile, as a complementary measure, the Department of Aviation and Navigation said yesterday that domestic airlines would increase the number of flights to Kinmen.
This month, three domestic carriers — Mandarin Airlines (華信航空), Uni Air (立榮航空) and TransAsia Airways (復興航空) — are scheduled to provide 391 regular flights from Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan and Chiayi to Kinmen. They are now planning to raise that to 434 from next month.
The department said the airlines are prepared to add another 112 additional flights if demand grows.
The department is also preparing additional round-trip shipping services between Kinmen and Xiamen and between Matsu and Mawai.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHELLEY SHAN
SOURED RELATIONS: Program director Jennifer Liu said the move to Taipei was due to a ‘perceived lack of friendliness’ from Beijing Language and Culture University Harvard University is to relocate its summer Mandarin program from Beijing to National Taiwan University (NTU) starting next year, a student publication reported on Thursday last week. Run at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) since 2004, the Harvard Beijing Academy is to become the Harvard Taipei Academy once it moves to Taiwan, Crimson magazine reported. Program director Jennifer Liu (劉力嘉) attributed the decision to a “perceived lack of friendliness” from the Chinese university, potentially due to shifting political winds. Liu told the magazine that BLCU in recent years had failed to provide a single dorm for the students or separate accommodation of
ADVANCING TECH: With revenue on target to reach US$15.4 billion, the Hsinchu-based chipmaker said it is looking to produce 3-nanometer chips later this year Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday announced plans to build a new plant in Japan next year to produce 22-nanometer and 28-nanometer chips in its latest effort to expand its global manufacturing footprint. The Japanese fab is to start operations in 2024, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker said, ending months of speculation. “We have received strong commitment to supporting this project from our customers and the Japanese government,” TSMC chief executive officer C.C. Wei (魏哲家) told a quarterly investors’ conference. “We believe the expansion of our global manufacturing footprint will enable us to better serve our customers’ needs and reach global talent,
KNOWN ISSUES: Fire safety issues were found in the 40-year-old building, which previously housed a theater and restaurants, in 2019, last year and May, an official said Forty-six people died and 41 were injured in a building fire that raged out of control for hours overnight in Kaohsiung, authorities said yesterday. Flames and smoke billowed from the lower floors of the 13-story Cheng Chung Cheng (城中城) building on Fubei Road in Yancheng District (鹽埕), as firefighters tried to douse the blaze from the street and aerial platforms. The death toll rose steadily through the day as rescue workers searched the combined commercial and residential building. By late afternoon, authorities said 32 bodies had been found, while a further 14 people who showed no signs of life were among 55
China’s recent increase in military exercises and warplane missions near Taiwan was necessary to defend sovereignty and territory, a Chinese official said yesterday, prompting Taipei to say that it had sabotaged peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China’s military flew 56 planes off the southwest coast of Taiwan on a single day earlier this month, a single-day record that capped four days of a sustained pressure campaign involving 149 flights in international airspace. The purpose of the maneuvers was to “fundamentally safeguard the overall interests of the Chinese nation and the vital interests of people on both sides of the Taiwan