New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, yesterday proposed transforming Kinmen County into a cross-strait economic pilot zone and transportation hub to help facilitate peaceful exchanges between Taiwan and China.
During a trip to Kinmen, which is less than 10km from southeast China, Hou said that turning the area into an economic pilot zone that offers tax incentives would help attract Chinese investment in to the county.
He said that if elected in January next year he would enhance the major ports in Kinmen and increase the frequency of flights in and out of the county to make the zone possible.
He also proposed that Kinmen become a medical and healthcare hub, not only to solve the longstanding problem of a lack of medical resources in the county, but also to make it a destination for Chinese medical tourists.
The KMT candidate said that Kinmen should import electricity and natural gas from China’s Fujian Province to ensure supply, after it began importing water from Jinjiang, China, in 2018.
Regarding a proposal by some Kinmen residents to construct a bridge linking the county with Xiamen, China, Hou said that he is open to all opinions and respects the wishes of Kinmen residents who plan to hold a referendum on the issue.
He said that his support of a referendum and of importing electricity and natural gas from China are based on the condition that doing so would not negatively affect Taiwan’s national security.
The proposal for a Kinmen-Xiamen bridge has previously been criticized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as posing a national security risk should China invade.
Hou arrived in Kinmen yesterday afternoon, a day before the 65th anniversary of the 823 Artillery Bombardment of the county, a key battle that marked the beginning of the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis.
On Aug. 23, 1958, nine years after the Republic of China (ROC) government retreated from China to Taiwan after losing the Chinese Civil War, Chinese communist forces attacked Kinmen. Over the next 44 days, 475,000 artillery shells were fired at the islands in an attempt to take them over.
In his news conference, Hou thanked Kinmen residents for standing on the front line of defending the ROC from invasion 65 years ago.
The country’s prosperity and democracy would forever be indebted to them for their contributions, he said.
Hou reiterated his support for a version of the so-called “1992 consensus” that conforms with the Constitution, without elaborating.
He said that he would try to reopen dialogue with China on equal footing to prevent a cross-strait war, because “there can be no losers in peace and no victors in war.”
The “1992 consensus” — a term that former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
Beijing shut down its official communication channel with Taiwan after the DPP, which has refused to accept the “1992 consensus,” came to power in May 2016.
The DPP says it does accept the “1992 consensus” on the grounds that Beijing has never acknowledged the ROC’s existence and that agreeing to the consensus implies acceptance of China’s claim over Taiwan.
A study published by online booking platform Expedia revealed searches for travel to Taipei have ballooned 2,786 percent following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions due to the city being a “designation dupe” for Seoul. The TikTok trend for duping — referring to substituting a designation for a more inexpensive alternative — helped propel interest in Taipei, it said in a consumer survey titled “Unpack ‘24,” which was conducted from September to October in 14 countries. Location dupes are “every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travelers love,” Expedia trend tracker Melanie Fish said of the year’s popular alternatives, which
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
CHINA illness surge: Of 88 travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau with respiratory symptoms who were encouraged to get tested upon arrival, 70.6% had the flu Two hundred and sixty people with COVID-19 were hospitalized and 31 deaths related to the virus were reported last week — the highest numbers in four weeks, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, adding that cases are expected to peak next month. CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said that of the 260 people hospitalized last week with moderate to severe COVID-19, 98 percent had not received the Omicron XBB.1.5-adapted COVID-19 vaccine. Among the people hospitalized this year, 78 percent were aged 65 or older, while most of the those who were hospitalized or died have or had
A small-scale protest that called on the government to cancel its plan to welcome Indian migrant workers in a bid to tackle Taiwan’s labor shortage was held in Taipei yesterday. During the protest, comprised of a few dozen people staged in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard, the protest’s chief initiator, a woman identified only as “Yuna” said they wanted the central government to reconsider allowing migrant workers from India to enter Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan had little knowledge about the potential plan to allow in Indian migrant workers until a report in the media last month, she