Taipei, Sept. 8 (CNA) Taiwan's government is mulling setting up a marine national park on "three northern islets" -- Pengjia Islet, Mianhua Islet, and Huaping Islet, an official from the national park administrative office said on Saturday.
The idea came after President Ma Ying-jeou made his first-ever visit on Friday to Pengjia Islet near the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea, as tensions heated up in recent weeks over the island chain claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan.
Marine National Park Director Yang Mo-lin said the three northern islets, which cover an approximately area of 1.29 square kilometers and are located about 44km from Keelung, are rich in fisheries resources and coral reefs.
However, Yang noted that the proposal to turn the three northern islets into a national park is pending approval on an initial feasibility study from government authorities.
Besides the national park on the three islets, Yang updated the media on the progress of another national park plan involving four southern islets of Taiwan's Penghu archipelago -- Siyuping, Dongyuping, Siyi and Dongyi.
Yang said that the four southern islets of Penghu, whose surrounding waters are covered with coral reef, were built up from basalt eruptions on the sea floor during the period between 10 million and 14 million years ago.
The Executive Yuan has approved an initial feasibility study on the proposal. Once the plan to turn the four islets of Penghu into a national park is passed by the Executive Yuan, it will become the ninth national park in Taiwan, Yang said.
The country currently has eight national parks, which are Kenting, Yushan, Yangmingshan, Taroko, Sheipa, Kinmen, Taijiang and Dongsha Atoll in the South China Sea.
(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Hanna Liu)