Tue, Mar 26, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Minister blames lack of direct links on Beijing

CNA , TAIPEI

Taiwan is set for direct trade, postal and transportation links with China, with only negotiations now needed to allow direct links to begin, Transportation and Communications Minister Lin Lin-san (林陵三) said yesterday.

Noting that Taiwan's major seaports are technically prepared for direct shipping links with any of China's seaports, Lin said that "we want to talk, but they [Beijing] don't."

Lin made the comments during an interpellation session at the Legislative Yuan's Transportation and Communications Committee.

He said that although Kaohsiung is designated as the only port to operate offshore transshipment business, other major ports, such as Taichung and Keelung, could also be designated as seaports for direct shipping links with China if necessary.

According to Lin, Beijing has so far allowed Kaohsiung to operate direct shipping links only with Xiamen port in Fujian Province. Lin said he expects that the "one port to one port" restriction could be redressed through cross-strait negotiations.

On the recently much-talked about development of a cross-strait undersea channel, Lin said he does not see any reason not to discuss the issue if it is in fact a policy of authorities on both sides of the Strait.

However, he said he has no idea about any Taiwan policy about an undersea channel.

Lin added that he personally doubts the feasibility of the 140km-long channel, based simply on considerations of the physical side affects of long-haul undersea trips on drivers.

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