Taipei, June 27 (CNA) Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said Wednesday that she hopes to build an artist village on the Taiwan-held island of Matsu, once a heavily fortified military bastion against China, so that more people can get to know Taiwan through Matsu.
"Taiwan is in debt to Kinmen and Matsu as it stalled the development of these two islands for 40 years for the sake of its own security," Lung said while visiting Qinbi Village in Matsu, the intended site of the artist center.
At the same time, the military control helped preserve many cultural assets, she said.
Kinmen and Matsu, located closer to China than to Taiwan, served as Taiwan's military front line against the communists for decades, but Taiwan has drastically reduced its military presence on the islands in recent years and have sought to transform them into tourist hot spots.
Lung said that if an artist village is properly managed in Qinbi, it can help facilitate interaction between local artists and artists from other parts of Taiwan and from Southeast Asia, Latin America and Europe.
Matsu artists can be promoted around the world and people around the globe can get to know Taiwan better through Matsu, she said.
Qinbi is noted for its well-kept Eastern Min style buildings and natural scenery.
Meanwhile, Wu Hsiao-yun, a cultural affairs official from Lienchiang County, which administers Matsu, said the county government plans to have soldiers stationed at the island take cultural lessons in July and August.
The decision was made after an archaeology team announced in April the discovery on the island of the country's oldest human remains dating back to around 8,300 years ago.
Lung praised the plan and said she planned to visit Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu in the future to discuss possible cooperation between her ministry and Kao's on cultural issues.
(By Sabine Cheng and Christie Chen)