Thu, Jan 02, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Foundation denies charges that no one wants to come home by Kinmen route

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) yesterday rejected a DPP legislator's accusation that no one had registered to travel back to Taiwan via Kinmen under the Small Three Links agreement during the Lunar New Year vacation, saying that, in fact, "thousands of Taiwanese businessmen" have registered to do so.

DPP Legislator Chang Ching-fang (張清芳) made the charge yesterday at a press conference during which he argued that Taiwanese businessmen are reluctant to travel via the Small Three Links, because of the complicated application procedures established by the SEF.

SEF Deputy Secretary-General Jan Jyh-horng (詹志宏) told reporters that Chang had misunderstood the situation.

"The precise number of businessmen has not yet been finalized. Applications are still being processed," Jan said.

He added that Chang had never sought confirmation of the true position from the SEF.

At his press conference, Chang had asked the SEF to scrap its application procedure and simply allow Taiwanese businessmen to register to travel via Kinmen by submitting their ID number or passport number. As it stands now, he said, it takes at least two to four weeks to complete the application process.

But Jan said that the application process cannot be changed.

"Taiwan is a country in which the rule of law applies," he said

Whether Taiwanese businessmen travel via Hong Kong or the Small Three Links, the correct legal procedures must apply," Jan said.

There are currently some 3,000 businessmen registered to take the indirect charter flights, Jan said.

He said that there is currently no deadline for applications from Taiwanese businessmen for the right to travel by either route.

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