The government is not doing enough to develop Kinmen County and is not placing due emphasis on the historical significance of the 823 Artillery Bombardment, which could gradually turn Kinmen residents away from their Taiwanese roots and cause them to identify with China, former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday.
Lu told a news conference in Taipei that during a two-day visit to Kinmen this week, she was asked why President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) or Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) were not at Wednesday’s 823 Artillery Bombardment ceremony, which commemorates the incident on Aug. 23, 1958, when China began an artillery bombardment of Kinmen, prompting the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis.
The government is too “cold-hearted and indifferent” toward Kinmen, considering the sacrifices made by Kinmen veterans and residents who fought in the battle, which was crucial to ensuring the nation’s security, Lu said.
The indifference is worrying, given the proximity between Kinmen and the cty of Xiamen in China’s Fujian Province, she said, adding that the government’s apparent apathy toward has hurt Kinmen residents’ feelings.
“What will Taiwan do if Kinmen residents feel lost or turn their backs [on Taiwan] as a result of this indifference?” Lu asked, adding that when she was Taoyuan county commissioner, she led yearly delegations to Kinmen, one of Taoyuan’s sister counties, and when she was vice president, she took national leaders and Nobel Peace Prize laureates to visit the islands.
A string of policies proposed by the Kinmen County Government — including the Kinmen-Xiamen twin cities project to build a symbiotic circle between the two port cities, and a bridge to connect Kinmen with Xiamen — was indicative of her concern, Lu said.
The proposed bridge is one of the links in Kinmen’s three mini-links policy, along with an underwater pipeline and a proposed underwater power cable, Lu said.
The bridge, coupled with a planned airport in Xiamen, could entice Kinmen residents to use the Xiamen airport instead of Taiwanese airports when traveling abroad, she added.
Such policies would effectively bring about a “mini-unification,” Lu said, adding that if the government continues to neglect the outlying county’s development, it would be hard-pressed to stop such a process if the policies go into effect.
Lu said she hopes Kinmen could be transformed into the world’s most-popular destination for honeymooners and retired foreigners, citing a recent stay at a traditional resort.
The hotels in Kinmen are “full of charm” and the air quality is excellent, she said, adding that hotel proprietors should target tourists from China and Japan, especially those from Okinawa — which like Kinmen has been through war.
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