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Legislator says Taiwan's outlying islands welcome bridges, links to China

Taiwan Premier Chen Chien-jen responds by saying no such project required

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A monument in Matsu displays the name of the island in Chinese. (Canva photo)

A monument in Matsu displays the name of the island in Chinese. (Canva photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Chen Hsueh-sheng (陳雪生) said the people of Matsu and Kinmen welcome the idea of bridges and other connections linking the outlying islands with China’s mainland.

The topic was raised after Taiwan’s legislature opened for questions on Friday (Oct. 6) following an address by Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), per CNA. Chen asked the premier what he thought of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) recent suggestion to link Kinmen and Matsu to the mainland with electricity, bridges, gas, and other links.

The premier responded that at present there is no need for such a project, but Chen said the people of the islands would like to see it happen. “We want to build a bridge, we are optimistic about its success, and we also won’t have to pay for it,” he said.

Chairman of the National Development Council Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said that despite Chen’s claims to the contrary, the government’s expenditure in Matsu is the highest in the country.

Legislator says Taiwan's outlying islands welcome bridges, links to China
Premier Chen Chien-jen responds to questions from Chen Hsueh-sheng on Friday. (CNA photo)

Chen’s comments reflect the views of fellow KMT Matsu Legislator Chang Yung-chiang (張永江) who told Taiwan News in September that he also welcomed further links to the adjacent Fujian province. Chang said more transport links would make life better for the people of Matsu in business and everyday life.

Chang was responding to a suggestion from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office that it was ready to build a rail link to Taiwan, which was strongly rebuffed by Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC). Responding to member Chen’s call for increased cross-strait links on Friday, MAC head Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said that as long as there are healthy exchanges, the council is optimistic about success.

Chen said that his ancestral links were all in China, but after traveling the world, he preferred Taiwan. “With ample food, clothing, and freedom for the people,” he said.