Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) on Sunday visited several scenic spots in Kinmen County, where two frontline islands, Dadan (大膽) and Erdan (二膽), are expected to be opened to tourists in the future on condition that troops remain stationed there.
While visiting factories that produce the county’s popular peanut candy, fine noodles and knives, Jiang praised the high quality of the thin noodles as exemplifying the high-quality food products made in Taiwan.
In the afternoon, Jiang went to the Kinmen Defense Command to attend several briefings on opening up Dadan and Erdan to tourists.
Yang Cheng-wu, director of Kinmen County’s Department of Tourism, said in his briefing to the premier that the county is proposing to open up the two islets to groups of young people and former servicemen who were stationed there for a two-year trial period beginning in September 2015.
The goal is to open the islets to the general public on September 2017, Yang said, adding that county officials expect many tourists to come from China.
The premier’s visit came two days after he answered questions at the Legislative Yuan, during which he said that there is still a need to have a troop presence on Dadan and Erdan, although the number of troops may be reduced.
Jiang said a decision on whether to allow tourists to visit the docks or other specific points of interest is expected to be made following his fact-finding mission. He did not announce any decision on Sunday.
Officials had said earlier that at the request of the Kinmen County authorities, the two islands are expected to be opened to selective tourism next year, with the 200 troops stationed there to be replaced by about 40 coast guard and police personnel.
Known as “the frontline of the frontline,” Dadan and Erdan are a little more than 4km from the Chinese city of Xiamen. The distance from the city to Kinmen island is nearly three times as great.
The islands were the scene of artillery battles with Chinese communist forces in 1950 and again in 1958.