Taipei, July 28 (CNA) Taiwan's top agency in charge of China policy reiterated on Saturday that Kinmen should act "in the best interest of the nation" by postponing a dedication ceremony scheduled for August 5 to mark the beginning of water importation from China's Fujian province into the county.
Amid China's increasing efforts to limit Taiwan's space on the international stage, especially on the heels of its recent push to revoke Taichung City's right to host East Asian Youth Games, it is inappropriate for Kinmen to hold the ceremony, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said in a statement.
The MAC's statement came after Kinmen government on Friday refused to toe the line and instead asked the MAC to reconsider its position.
In 2015, facing a possible water shortage due to a combination of factors, including scarcity of precipitation, lack of large dams and a growing number of Chinese tourists, Kinmen's water authority signed a 30-year water purchase agreement with its counterpart in Fujian to meet its water demands.
The construction of a 17-kilometer-long water main connecting reservoirs on both sides was completed earlier this year and is expected to provide about 30 percent of the island's total water supply, according to government statements.
In response to the MAC's position, Kinmen government said on Friday that the project is a matter of livelihood and commercial in nature.
Kinmen faces severe water scarcity because its groundwater storage capacity can supply only enough water for 118 days, the government said.
In its statement on Saturday, the MAC reiterated its position, as stated by deputy head Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) at a press conference Friday, that Kinmen government should reschedule the ceremony.
Holding the ceremony at a time when Taichung city has been stripped of the right to host East Asian Youth Games plays into the hands of China, which makes overtures to Taiwan while simultaneously seeking to suppress Taiwan on the international stage, the MAC said.
China's double-dealing tactic seeks to downplay its suppression of Taiwan internationally which "has damaged the dignity and interests of our nation" and is "absolutely unacceptable," the MAC said.
The MAC said its support for the contract and the purchase of water from China and for it to take effect as scheduled remains unchanged, but maintains that the dedication ceremony should be postponed until a less sensitive time.