Fri, Jan 18, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Tiny frontline islands to be opened to public

Staff writer, with CNA

Soldiers leave a boat dock on Kinmen County’s Dadan Island in an undated photograph.

Photo: Wu Cheng-ting, Taipei Times

Dadan Island (大膽島), which was a major battleground during the Cold War, is to be opened to the public starting on March 1, but there is to be a daily cap on numbers and visitors will have to apply ahead of time, the Kinmen County Tourism Department said on Tuesday.

Chinese, including those living in Hong Kong and Macau, would not be allowed to visit, the department said.

Applications for visits would be accepted starting on Feb. 12, with a daily limit of 150 people, and tickets would cost NT$1,500 (US$48.62), including a round-trip ferry ticket, or NT$750 for county residents.

The ferry would run from Jiugong Pier in Kinmen’s Lieyu Township (烈嶼) and the trip would take 30 minutes, the department said.

The decision to open the Island to visitors follows a trial run from July 26 to Oct. 31 last year, during which 3,061 people visited, bringing in revenue of NT$4.9 million, it said.

Dadan and neighboring Erdan Island (二膽) were the site of a fierce battle on July 26, 1950, as China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) set their sights on capturing Republic of China-held islands in the Taiwan Strait.

The two islets are just more than 4km away from Xiamen, China.

PLA forces fired a volley of shells before landing 700 soldiers on Dadan, which was defended by 298 Nationalist Army soldiers, who fought for more than 10 hours to hold onto the island, while Erdan was defended by 39 soldiers.

For many years, the two islets continued to bear the brunt of the exchanges of fire across the Taiwan Strait, including the Aug. 23 Artillery Battle of 1958, when more than 100,000 Chinese shells were fired at the pair.

Administration of the two islands was transferred from the military to the Kinmen County Government in 2014.

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