Mon, Jun 07, 2004 - Page 4 News List

More than 2,000 mines removed from Kinmen

DEMANDS MET A group of engineers removed the landmines from a beach on the island, paving the way for the construction of a commercial wharf

CNA , KINMEN

More than 2,000 landmines in the Shuitou-Hsiashu beach on the Taiwan-held frontline island of Kinmen have been cleared up and destroyed, the Kinmen County Government said on Saturday.

"Demining the area has removed a great obstacle to the construction of a commercial wharf at the Shuitou port," a county government official said, adding that the commercial wharf construction will from now on shift into high gear.

A Singapore-based company, Explomo Technical Service, won the bid to demine the 114,300m2 beach late last year.

Demining experts from the company detected a total of 2,239 landmines in the region. All of them were US-made M3 anti-personnel landmines.

After five months of hard work, Singaporean engineers finally destroyed all of these landmines and completed a land rehabilitation project on Saturday.

During the Cold War era, the Taiwanese military deployed various types of landmines in coastal areas of its two offshore defense outposts of Kinmen and Matsu, both of which lie closer to China than Taiwan. With tension easing between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, the Ministry of National Defense has demined 16 areas in Kinmen since 1998 in response to demands from Kinmen residents.

The ministry has also decided to demine 12 additional areas in Kinmen and three regions in Matsu between 2006 and 2008. Major foreign demining companies have expressed interest in bidding for the demining projects.

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