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Second stage of demining operations in Kinmen begin

Second stage of demining operations in Kinmen begin

Taipei, July 16 (CNA) The second and final stage of demining operations on Kinmen started Friday and hopes to completely clear the Taiwan-held outlying island just off China's coast of land mines by June 2013.
Kinmen Defense Commander Chang Ching-hsiang, Kinmen County Magistrate Lee Wo-shih, County Speaker Wang Tsai-sheng, and Lieyu Township chief Hung Cheng-fa jointly cut the barbed wire outside the land mine site in Lieyu Township, also known as Little Kinmen, to symbolize the start of the mine-clearing operation.
Chang said Kinmen started partial demining in 1997, but a full-scale mine clearing effort was only launched after the Legislature passed the Statute for Anti-personnel Land Mine Control in May 2006.
The military completed the first stage of demining late last year, clearing land mines at 47 sites, which accounted for 46.3 percent of the listed land mine sites. A total of 31,436 land mines and unexploded bombs were destroyed.
"The military achieved the goal of zero risk and zero injuries during the first stage of the demining operation," Chang said.
The military hopes to clear the remaining land mine sites based on the same safety standards by June 2013, which it believes will contribute to the development of Kinmen's economy, Chang added.
Magistrate Lee expressed appreciation for the military's efforts, saying that a "land mine-free" Kinmen will help the island's tourism and development.
To speed up the operation, the military and a mine clearing specialist it commissioned will collaborate on the job, the Kinmen Defense Command said.
They are scheduled to clear 107 land mine sites spread over an area of 1.64 million square meters in Big Kinmen, Little Kinmen, Tatan and Ertan islets.
The military will be in charge of 40 sites with an area of 784,350 square meters while G4S Security Service (Taiwan) will be responsible for clearing the remaining 67 sites covering an area of 856,647 square meters.
G4S Security Services has 25 years of demining experience and taken part in demining and training projects in 17 countries, including Afghanistan and Iran, a company official said.
Kinmen, composed of 12 islets, lies closer to China's southeastern province of Fujian than to Taiwan proper. As Taiwan's front line of defense against China during hostilities in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it was the target of intense shelling.
With relations across the Taiwan Strait improving, however, the number of troops stationed there has decreased significantly and tourism has become the backbone of its economy, making demining a top priority.
(By Ni Kuo-yen and Lilian Wu)




Updated : 2021-06-18 19:51 GMT+08:00