Taipei, May 24 (CNA) Kitchen knives being made in Kinmen from old artillery shell casings symbolize that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have buried the hatchet and are working for peace, a Chinese official said Sunday in the Taiwan-held outlying county.
Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO, 國台辦), also said he hoped the two sides could maintain peace while visiting the steel knife factory that makes knives from the shells fired by China at Kinmen between 1958 and 1978.
During the 1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis, the People's Liberation Army fired around 450,000 shells at the Kinmen Islands located just kilometers off China's coast to try to retake them from the Republic of China (Taiwan).
More recently, Kinmen has become famous for its production of cleavers made from the PLA shells.
Zhang was in Kinmen after meeting with Hsia Li-yan (夏立言), the head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC, 陸委會), on Saturday.
MAC deputy chief Lin Chu-chia (林祖嘉), who accompanied Zhang to the factory on Sunday, said that while scrap bomb shells could be made into steel knives, steel could be made into bombs or home appliances.
That shows that many things can be changed simply by a change in thinking, and if the two sides across the strait could respect each other, many cross-strait agreements could be easily pushed forward, Lin said.
Also Sunday at a forum with local business representatives in Kinmen, Zhang said that because of its special geographic location in the Taiwan Strait, Kinmen plays an important role in cross-strait relations and has benefited substantially from improving cross-strait ties.
Zhang returned home later Sunday after concluding his two-day visit.