The government has allowed shipping firms to offer direct passenger services between Penghu County and China since 2008, although none have yet applied to do so, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said yesterday.
Wang made the remarks on the sidelines of a meeting at the legislature in Taipei in response to media queries for comment about Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) proposal to launch direct ferry services between the outlying county and China’s Fujian Province, as are offered from Kinmen and Lienchiang counties.
Han, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, made the promise to Penghu County Commissioner Lai Feng-wei (賴峰偉) at a campaign rally in Penghu on Sunday.
The county does not have a direct ferry service to China, even though it is permitted by law, Lai told Han, adding that the lack of such services means most Chinese tourists from Fujian arrive in Penghu via Kinmen.
Lai said that he has been working to establish direct services from Penghu to Xiamen and Pingtan, as well as direct flights from Penghu’s Magong Airport to Quanzhou Jinjiang International Airport.
However, as cross-strait affairs fall under the jurisdiction of the central government, none of these services would be realized if the government disapproves, he said.
Tourists from Fujian are indeed more likely to arrive in Penghu via Kinmen and Lienchiang, Wang said yesterday, adding that Penghu’s cross-strait shipping services are mostly for cargo.
Chinese tourists often arrive on chartered vessels, he said.
Penghu welcomes about 1.2 million domestic tourists annually and that number is rising at about 10 percent per year, he said.
The number of tourists visiting Penghu has grown from about 1.15 million in 2017 to 1.8 million last year, Tourism Bureau statistics showed.
About 1.1 million tourists have visited the outlying island this year to last month, an 11 percent increase from the same period last year, the statistics showed.
Penghu has emerged as a popular travel destination thanks to the government’s travel subsidy program, the bureau said.
The program has subsidized 173 tour groups and 88,000 independent visitors to the islands, it said.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan
The Taipei City Government yesterday said that construction on the long-suspended Taipei Dome can resume immediately, after it approved a request by the project’s main contractor, Farglory Group. In a statement, the Taipei Construction Management Office said that after it on July 16 issued a new building permit, Farglory submitted revised design plans and an application to resume construction, which the office approved on Friday. Construction had been suspended on the dome, near the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Xinyi District (信義), for more than five years due to disagreements between the city and the company over the safety of some of