Thu, Aug 09, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Ma wants to open coastline

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou unveils a plan to develop Taiwan's coastal areas into recreational sites during a visit to Dongshih Fishing Port in Chiayi County yesterday.

PHOTO: CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday pledged to relax regulations on airspace and surrounding waters and turn the nation's coastal areas into tourist destinations if elected president.

By allowing more recreational activities along the coast -- such as the use of jet skis, yachts and smaller sailboats -- Taiwan's coastline could become as popular as Florida's beaches or Australia's Gold Coast, Ma said.

"The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) promised to establish Taiwan as an `ocean country,' but never carried out any policies ?The government is still enforcing martial law on the coastline," Ma said in Chiayi County.

Ma proposed allowing fishermen to operate recreational businesses and to make it easier for interested parties apply to operate helicopter tours.

Citing Kenting (墾丁), Pingtung County, which makes about NT$20 billion (US$600 million) annually from water-related recreation, Ma promised to transform fishing ports into recreational ports if elected.

Ma also met with fishermen from Dongshih Fishing Port in Chiayi, signed a petition presented by fishermen and promised to give the fishing industry a 14 percent fuel subsidy.

Several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters were on hand to protest Ma's planned "long-stay" visit to southern Taiwan.

"Ma's long stay plan is a fake. He is not qualified to run for the presidential election," they shouted.

Ma condemned the protesters' actions and urged DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) to compete with him by presenting his policies.

"This kind of action is not reconciliation ... Running in the election with such tactics will only create unnecessary clashes," he said.

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