Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday touted the outlying island of Kinmen as a unique place that could be developed into an international tourist destination.
“The ministry will do everything possible to help promote Kinmen as an international tourism island,” Jiang said.
He said that first and foremost is Kinmen’s historic background as the Republic of China’s (ROC) outpost against communist invasion in the late 1940s and 1950s, during which ROC forces stationed there deterred numerous attempts by the Chinese to overrun the island.
The battle of Kuningtou in 1949 and the 823 artillery battle of 1958 left indelible marks on the island, Jiang said.
Today, tourists can visit impregnable underground fortresses and many shops that specialize in high-quality knives made from the 440,000 rounds of artillery shells that battered the island during the conflicts.
The island, which is closer to China’s Fujian Province than it is to Taiwan, has a great deal of Fujian influence and preserves the characteristic southern Fujian-style architecture.
The island also boasts the popular Kinmen kaoliang liquor distilled from sorghum, said Jiang, who is on a two-day inspection tour of Kinmen.
Meanwhile, as the military continues its landmine-clearing operations along Kinmen’s coasts, an estimated 154 hectares of land within Kinmen National Park will be released from military safety restrictions.
With residents calling for the land to be made available to them, saying that it once belonged to their ancestors, Jiang also said the ministry’s principle will be to maintain the integrity of the ecology of these areas as much as possible, although he also vowed to help the development of local industry.
Saying the government attaches great importance to ecology and the tourism and leisure industry, Jiang said he hopes to find a way that will not disappoint the public but will also keep national resources intact.
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