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Fujian, Kinmen ties lauded by county magistrate

2019/01/15 23:32:40

Kinmen County Magistrate Yang Cheng-wu (楊鎮浯) speaks at a banquet in the offshore county Tuesday. The banquet was held to recognize the decade-long establishment of a new immigrants care association in the county.

Taipei, Jan. 15 (CNA) A proposal by China's Fujian Province for cross-strait cooperation projects between mainland China and Taiwan's Kinmen and Matsu, including bridge links, and plans to supply water, electricity and gas, received support from Kinmen's county magistrate Tuesday.

In an interview with CNA, Kinmen County Magistrate Yang Cheng-wu (楊鎮浯) of the Kuomintang, who was elected as county head in the Nov. 24 local elections, said the county government will organize a delegation to visit Fujian before the Lunar New Year in early February to discuss related matters.

In response to the proposal, Yang said what the county needs most is resources for peoples' livelihood, and to cooperate and conduct exchanges that boost economic development.

As a local government, Kinmen should avoid becoming embroiled in political affairs, but the county needs to seize opportunities when the atmosphere is right, Yang said.

Kinmen County Magistrate Yang Cheng-wu (楊鎮浯, right) digs his hand into a box of raffle tickets at a banquet in the offshore county Tuesday. The banquet, which saw Yang pick out raffle prizes, was held to recognize the decade-long establishment of a new immigrants care association in the county.

Fujian and Kinmen are neighbors and during the trip to the province, the county government can put forward ideas on future exchanges and cooperation between the two sides, in the hope of concrete results, he said.

The proposal Yang referred to was made Monday by Tang Dengjie, governor of Fujian, when delivering a government work report to the annual session of the provincial people's congress, according to Chinese media.

The idea behind the proposal was voiced during Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech while addressing a gathering to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the issuing of the "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan" at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Jan. 2.

Xi suggested in the speech that the both sides could first connect water, electricity and gases supplies, and then build bridges between Kinmen and Matsu, and the coastal area of Fujian Province, according to Chinese media.

However, in a separate statement released Tuesday ,Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said the proposal fell under the jurisdiction of the central government and will therefore need to be carefully assessed.

With regards to a Kinmen County government delegation visiting Fujian to discuss related matters, MAC said that according to the National Immigration Agency, Yang has already applied to visit the province sometime in the second half of January.

The MAC statement also reminded Yang to abide by the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, which was enacted to ensure security and public welfare in the Taiwan Area.

At the current time, Kinmen and Fujian should not rush into discussions on Fujian's proposal as it involves complex and sensitive issues such as cross-strait coordination and communication and future cross-strait relations, the MAC said.

Meanwhile, Fujian has been providing water to Kinmen since last August, following a "water link" deal between China and Taiwan signed in 2015 to provide the county with water for 30 years.

Under the deal, Kinmen agreed to import an average of 34,000 tons of water a day from Fujian at a cost of NT$9.86 (US$0.32) per cubic meter, with the daily supply able to rise to 55,000 tons a day, according to Kinmen County Waterworks.

Taiwan spent NT$1.35 billion to build the 16-kilometer-long underground and underwater pipeline running from Kinmen's Tianbu Reservoir to the coastal city of Jinjiang in Fujian that made the deal possible.

(By Huang Huei-min and William Yen)