Thu, Nov 02, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Military details mine-removal plan

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The military yesterday said it plans to spend NT$4.2 billion (US$127 million) to remove minefields in Kinmen and Matsu, a project that is scheduled to be completed within seven years.

"We have already begun to train our own specialists in mine-removal, and we are ready to get this job done," said Colonel Yang Kong-chuan (楊恭銓), deputy director of the Ministry of National Defense's Joint Warfare Department.

Yang made his remarks during a press conference to introduce the Chinese-language version of Landmine Monitor Report 2006 by the advocacy group International Campaign to Ban Landmines at the Legislative Yuan yesterday morning. He said that the military's plan to remove the mines within seven years is required by law.

In May, the legislature passed a law -- the Landmine Control Act (殺傷性地雷管制條例) -- that requires all mines to be removed from use within seven years.

In addition, the law says the government must provide compensation to people who have been killed or injured by mines, as well as people whose property has been damaged by mines.

Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, the editor of the Chinese-language version of the Landmine Monitor Report 2006, said that a total of 151 countries have signed agreements to remove landmines.

Currently, Russia, Myanmar and Chechnya are the only countries in the world where landmines are still in use for military purposes, he said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) said that removing landmines is the direction in which most countries in the world are going. Taiwan should move in that direction as well, he said.

Regarding the law, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said that she gave credit to her colleagues, DPP Legislator Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) and former KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖), for making the law possible.

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