The outlying island of Kinmen kicked off a 10,000-people petition drive against landmines and scrap ammunition to coincide with the mission-oriented National Assembly election yesterday.
Fujian Provincial Governor Yen Chung-cheng (
Kinmen county government officials said Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) is scheduled to visit Kinmen May 19, when the 10,000 signatures will be presented to him to underscore Kinmen residents' opposition to war, mines, scrap ammunition and their aspirations for peace, security and development.
The drive was co-sponsored by the Kinmen county government, council, village and township halls, as well as several other civic groups. Yen noted that Kinmen has been mined since 1949 and that the number of mines on the island is estimated to be in the millions.
The government is planning to withdraw its troops from Kinmen and to scale down the Kinmen Defense Command toward the goal of an "armistice zone," so it is necessary to clear the mines and dispose of the scrap ammunition for the development of the island, Yen said, adding that the death of two Zimbabwean minesweeping experts last month has caused grave concern among the residents.