The vessel Taima Lun (
The devotees of Matsu, Goddess of the Sea, gathered early yesterday morning in front of the Tienhou Temple (天后宮) on Nankan Island, part of the Matsu archipelago, to greet the statues of the goddess before boarding the vessel.
Dressed in red coats and accompanied by a magistrate from the Lianchiang County Government, Liu Li-chyun (劉立群), local KMT Legislator Tsao Erh-chung (曹爾忠) and county council speaker Chen Chen-ching (陳振清), they waved to crowds before steaming away from Fuao port at 7:30am.
PHOTO: LEE HUNG-MING, TAIPEI TIMES
Cabinet Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁), Vice Chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council Chen Ming-tung (陳明通) and other central government officials were there to see them off with firecrackers and applause.
"We hope the first voyage will lay a foundation for peaceful cross-strait interaction [in the future]," Chiou said.
"The sea today is so calm it seems to represent our confidence [in cross-strait relations]," Tsao said on the boat.
Upon arrival in China's Mawei port, the Taima Lun was greeted by some 40 Chinese officials, with only a few of them applauding.
The pilgrimage to Putian -- Matsu's supposed birthplace -- and Meizhou -- where the goddess resided before she was deified -- then set off.
Some members of the Taiwanese media, however, were barred from covering the event.
News photographers were asked to leave their cameras on the boat while other reporters were asked to remain with the group and to limit their reports to nothing but the religious side of the journey.
Local Chinese media, nevertheless, all rushed into the port to witness the first-ever pilgrimage made directly from Taiwan to China.
Meanwhile in Taipei, Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (
"I'd like to ask the Chinese authorities to [assist and] take care of those who made these first voyages from Kinmen and Matsu as part of the small three links," Chang said yesterday morning.
Chang said that yesterday's first legal direct voyages (from Kinmen as well as Matsu) were an opportunity for both sides of the Taiwan Strait to ease the political standoff and usher in a new era of peaceful co-existence.
"Leaders of both sides of the Strait should sit down and talk, otherwise, it will be hard to implement the small three links smoothly," Chang said, adding that he hoped he would recall this moment with pride in years to come.
The group said it plans to return to Fuao port on Nankan Island on Friday, concluding a four-day trip.
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
‘INCREASINGLY FAVORED’: Taiwan’s ‘transparent laws and efficient courts’ as well as its financial institutions give it a major advantage to become a financial hub, Tsai said Taiwan would liberalize banking and investment rules to establish itself as a regional financial hub, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told the Taiwan Capital Market Forum in Taipei yesterday. Recent world events could be an opening for Taiwan to become an international center for business investments and financial management, Tsai said at the forum, which was organized by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister publication of the Taipei Times). “We’re facing unknowns in the world right now, including the continuing impact of US-China trade tensions and the reorganization of the global supply chain after COVID-19,” Tsai said. “These bring new challenges and opportunities.” Tsai
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would