Sun, Jun 08, 2008 - Page 3 News List

‘Small three links’ to be opened for all: Vanessa Shih

by Shih Hsiu-Chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

While the government is drafting plans to allow all Taiwanese to travel to China via the “small three links,” it has yet to decide when the policy will take effect, Executive Yuan Spokeswoman Vanessa Shih (史亞平) said yesterday.

Shih made the remarks to correct media reports that said Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) had said on the legislative floor on Friday that the government would implement the expansion of the scope of the “small three links” within two weeks.

The “small three links,” which opened in January 2001, allows limited direct transportation between Kinmen and Matsu islands and the southern Chinese port cities of Xiamen and Fuzhou.

The scheme provides a faster and cheaper way to travel to China as people in Taiwan proper must make stopovers in third territories such as Hong Kong and Macau before traveling on to China.

The route is only available for people with addresses registered in Kinmen and Matsu for at least six months, businesspeople with operations in China and their employees and family members, veterans originally from China, and residents of Fujian Province married to Taiwanese.

Shih said yesterday that Liu had instructed the Mainland Affairs Council to conduct a review of the “small three links” and draw up a proposal to liberalize related regulations in the shortest period of time.

The restrictions on travelers via the “small three links” will almost certainly be lifted in the near future, as they would become meaningless once regular cross-strait passenger charter flights commence, she added.

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