Mon, Mar 30, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Kinmen to remove beach barricades for cross-strait swim

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Kinmen authorities will remove spear-like anti-landing barricades from Shuangkou Beach on Little Kinmen (小金門) to facilitate a 5,900m cross-strait swimming event scheduled for August.

Kinmen County Commissioner Lee Chu-feng (李炷烽) said the barricades — aimed at blocking landing crafts — were built in shallow waters of the beach during the Cold War era to prevent an invasion from China. Since there have been no military battles since 1958, the barricades are no longer needed, he said.

The barricades will be removed and destroyed to provide a safe beach for swimmers taking part in the first cross-strait mass swim between Little Kinmen and Xiamen in Fujian Province on Aug. 1.

The military’s deployment to Kinmen has shrunk substantially in recent years to less than 10,000 troops, compared to some 100,000 two decades ago.

Lee told visiting Xiamen Mayor Liu Ciguei (劉賜貴) that the swim from Xiamen to Kinmen would be both a sports event and a way to promote cross-strait exchanges.

Liu welcomed the plan to remove the beachhead barricades, saying: “It’s a good start.”

Kinmen officials said the county government has received approval from the Mainland Affairs Council for the Kinmen-Xiamen swim. A total of 100 professional swimmers and sports celebrities from Taiwan and China will be invited to take part in the swim.

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