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Reported comments on 'mini three links' criticized

Reported comments on 'mini three links' criticized

Taipei, May 27 (CNA) Hsia Li-yan (???), head of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the top government agency in charge of cross-Taiwan Strait affairs, said Wednesday that he had not heard any comments from his Chinese counterpart, Zhang Zhijun (???) of the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), on a possible termination of the current "mini three links" between the outlying island of Kinmen and China. On the sidelines of a seminar focusing on political developments in China, however, Hsia said that if Zhang did talk about a possible halt to the links should Kinmen develop a casino business, the comments were "inappropriate." According to local media reports, Zhang, head of the TAO, said during a visit to Kinmen with Hsia last weekend that if Kinmen wants to use the casino business to attract Chinese visitors, China will cut the links. Since Jan. 1, 2001, Taiwan and China have had direct trade, postal and transportation links between the Taiwan-controlled islands of Kinmen and Matsu, and the Fujian ports of Xiamen, Quanzhou and Fuzhou. The local media cited the TAO as saying that Zhang told a group of Kinmen business entrepreneurs in a meeting that Kinmen could not count on the development of the casino business to attract more Chinese tourists. The reports came at a time when Taiwan plans to transform some of its outlying islands, including Kinmen, into casino resorts as part of the country's efforts to lure more foreign tourists. Lin Chu-chia (???), deputy minister of the MAC, said he heard nothing from Zhang during the meeting about stopping the links. Hsia said the government has repeatedly told China that the mini links have made great contributions to strengthened ties across the Taiwan Strait and that in his May 23 meeting with Zhang, both sides agreed to improve trade links. According to the MAC, a total of 5,683 passenger and 609 cargo boats from Kinmen and Matsu used the three links to go to China last year, while a total of 4,493 passenger and 248 cargo vessels came from Fujian to Taiwan. In Beijing, Fan Liqing (???), spokeswoman for the TAO, said that as her country bans gambling, Chinese tourists will not be allowed to be involved in any gambling activity in Taiwan. Fan said that the rules have been clearly written in the principles governing Chinese tourists who visit Taiwan. Fan said that China is sincere in pushing for tourism exchanges with Kinmen but does not want to see the Kinmen tourism market affected by the casino business. (By Chou Yi-ling, Chou Hui-ying and Frances Huang)


Updated : 2021-09-19 08:09 GMT+08:00