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Century-old Kinmen lighthouse shines again

2017/07/23 17:18:13

Taipei, July 23 (CNA) A lighthouse of the island of Kinmen, which was shut down in 1951 after the Chinese Civil War, was lit up for the first time in decades at a ceremony on Sunday and will again guide ships traveling across the Taiwan Strait.

Wuchiu Lighthouse was constructed in 1874 and was damaged in 1948 during the civil war between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led government of the Republic of China and the Communist Party of China (CPC).

In 1951, Taiwan decided to shut down the lighthouse as part of its military strategy amid tensions with China but continued to carry out routine maintenance work on it.

In 2001, the lighthouse was officially shut down after it was placed under the jurisdiction of the Taiwan military.

At a ceremony Sunday, however, the national Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) signed an agreement with the military to take charge of the lighthouse.

Deputy Minister of Transportation and communications Chi Wen-chung (祈文中) noted at the ceremony that Wuchiu Lighthouse has been standing above Meizhou Bay overlooking the Taiwan Strait for 143 years as a symbol of navigational safety.

Years ago, it helped to guide the ROC Marine Corps and will now continue to make navigation safer in the Taiwan Strait, Chi said.

Efforts will be made to designate the lighthouse as national historic site, he said, noting that is already a county-level historic site.

The resumption of the lighthouse's operations is also aimed at highlighting Taiwan's sovereignty over the Wuchiu group of islands, which lie close to Taiwan-controlled Kinmen Island and the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian, according to MPB Director-General Hsieh Wei-chun (謝謂君).

The Wuchiu islands are located 72 nautical miles northeast of Kinmen.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Evelyn Kao)
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