Mon, Aug 06, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Kinmen starts importing Chinese water

UTMOST GOODWILL:County Commissioner Chen Fu-hai explained his vision of ‘three new links’ with China, but the Cabinet said the idea needs to be dicussed

By Lu Yi-hsuan  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Kinmen County commissioner Chen Fu-hai, second left, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yang Chen-wu, third right, front row, Fujian Provincial Government secretary-general Weng Mingzhi, fourth left, Kinmen County Councilor Chen Tsang-chiang, fifth left, and other officials yesterday hold balloons as a water gate is switched on during a ceremony in Kinmen to mark the start of water supplies from China’s Fujian Province.

Photo: Wu Cheng-ting, Taipei Times

Kinmen County yesterday began importing water from China’s Fujian Province to stabilize its water supply, while county Commissioner Chen Fu-hai (陳福海) said he hopes to boost bilateral ties with the Chinese province through what he called “three new links.”

Separate ceremonies were held in Kinmen and China’s Jinjiang City to mark the opening of the water supply system, with Chen and other local politicians attending the ceremony in Kinmen.

The county government held the ceremony as scheduled, despite calls by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) to delay it after Beijing pressured members of the East Asian Olympic Committee to revoke Taichung’s right to host the East Asian Youth Games next year.

The “water link” — one of Chen’s “three new links” — is the result of an agreement that Taiwan and China signed in 2015 to provide Kinmen with water for 30 years, Chen said.

It is followed by an “electricity link” and “bridge link” between Kinmen and China, he added.

Chen also referred to the “small three links” — postal, transportation and trade connections between Taiwan and China that started in 1991.

According to the water purchase agreement, Kinmen is to import up to an average of 34,000 tonnes of water a day at a cost of NT$9.86 per cubic meter, and the daily supply could reach 55,000 tonnes a day, the Kinmen County Waterworks said.

The ceremony in Jinjiang was attended by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Liu Jieyi (劉結一), along with China’s Fujian Province Governor Yu Weiguo (于偉國), and a Taiwanese delegation of more than 20 councilors led by Kinmen County Council Speaker Hung Li-ping (洪麗萍).

The water connection signals the development of peaceful cooperation between Kinmen and Jinjiang, which were previously divided by military conflicts, Liu said at the ceremony.

“Only if cross-strait relations are good will Taiwanese be better off,” Liu said.

Liu criticized Taiwanese who opposed the system out of “malicious political purposes,” saying they would “meet their doom” for neglecting the well-being of their compatriots.

The MAC in a statement congratulated Kinmen, while condemning Beijing for using the system for political gains.

The water system — a commercial agreement — was politicized by China as a “gift” to Taiwan in a bid to split Taiwanese, it said.

The government has displayed its utmost goodwill by allowing the system to be launched as scheduled, at a time when cross-strait relations are tense, the council said.

Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said more deliberation is needed regarding the “three new links,” but added that the government would prioritize the needs of Kinmen residents.

Additional reporting by Chen Yu-fu

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