Taipei, June 27 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou
said Friday during an inspection tour of outlying Kinmen County that by developing shopping malls, the island county has become a place with enormous business opportunities, which is the best defense for the former military stronghold. Ma said during the opening ceremony of a new terminal complex at Kinmen Airport that when he took office in 2008, the airport was undergoing the first stage of upgrading and renovation, and said he was surprised by the rapid development of the facility. He noted that to prepare for the expected influx of Chinese tourists following the launch of direct flights between Taiwan and China
in July 2008, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has invested more than NT$10 billion (US$334.6 million) between 2009 and 2014 in major land, sea and air infrastructure and construction projects on Kinmen, including the newly built Kinmen Bridge and the Liaolo Harbor renovations, as well as the airport expansion project. Ma also said that since Kinmen Magistrate Li Wo-shi assumed his post in 2009, he has been pushing the development of two international shopping centers and is seeking further development for Kinmen. Meanwhile, Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih said the airport is estimated to serve 2.28 million passengers this year, while the opening of the new terminal building will allow it to serve 3.9 million passengers per year.
Ma also attended the opening ceremony of a new medical building affiliated with the Ministry of Health and Welfare's Kinmen Hospital, saying that the government's stepped-up efforts to build new medical facilities and improve medical service on remote outlying islands signify the fulfillment of "regional justice." The president also noted that the government has provided funds for training local medical specialists on Kinmen and has encouraged them to work in medical institutions there. According to Ma, since he took office six years ago, the government has injected NT$1.88 billion into the medial and health care industry on Kinmen, nearly four times the total amount invested by the previous Democratic Progressive Party administration between 2000 and 2008. (By Chen Show-gow and Evelyn Kao)