Sat, May 27, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Statute approves removal of Kinmen, Matsu mines

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Landmines deployed on Kinmen, like those in this file picture, will be removed after the Legislative Yuan yesterday passed a bill demanding that anti-personnel mines deployed on the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu be removed within seven years.

PHOTO: CNA

A statute demanding the removal of anti-personnel mines from the nation's outlying islands of Kinmen, Matsu and Dong Yin within seven years was enacted in the legislature yesterday, a move expected to meet the long-term wishes of residents plagued by landmines for some 50 years.

Under the Statutes Governing Management of Landmines (殺傷性地雷管制條例), the Ministry of National Defense (MND) is obliged to report to the legislature how many anti-personnel mines have been removed every year.

A resolution appended to the statute demanded the MND prioritize areas for the disposal of mines by consulting with the local governments of Kinmen County and Lienchiang County to meet with the local development needs.

The government planted over 100,000 landmines during the Battle of Kuningtou in 1949 and the Aug. 23, 1958 artillery bombardment, as a precaution against invasion by communist Chinese troops of Kinmen, Matsu and Dong Yin.

While landmines include anti-personnel mines and anti-vehicle mines, only the former are subject to the statute, as the MND said that the latter should continue to be used for military purposes.

The statute also restricts the MND's future use of landmines by stipulating that they can only be used in wartime.

If the project cannot be completed in seven years, the MND should request an approval from the Executive Yuan for an extension. The statute also stipulates that if military personnel or civilians suffer injuries as a result of "negligence in mine removal operations," they will be entitled to compensation.

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