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Lawmakers call for MND to demilitarize Wuchiu

Lawmakers call for MND to demilitarize Wuchiu

Lawmakers from across the political spectrum and members of several private opinion groups called for the Ministry of National Defense yesterday to demilitarize the Taiwan-held outlying islet of Wuchiu located near China's Fujian Province.
Ruling Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) and opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union lawmakers Ho Min-hao (何敏豪) and Lo Chih-ming (羅志明), along with representatives of two private activist groups and a Wuchiu resident jointly called for the Defense Ministry at a news conference "to return Wuchiu to the civilians."
Wuchiu - covering an area of 1.2 square kilometers and located between Taiwan's outlying islands of Kinmen and Matzu and about 73 nautical miles away from Taichung, central Taiwan - is the only Taiwan-held islet still under complete military control, Wo said, adding that its residents, numbering about 50, continue to live under conditions equal to those during the period of martial law.
Lo said that the Defense Ministry has persistently prevented Taiwan residents from heading to Wuchiu for tourism by citing the military restrictions, bad sailing conditions and lack of space for ferry service facilities on the islet.
Lo suggested that Wuchiu - located about 20 nautical miles away from Fujian Province's Meizhou Island - be opened to tourists as "another Kueishan Islet" for sightseeing visits without prior approval from the Defense Ministry. Kueishan Islet, located off the eastern county of Yilan, was opened to tourists in 2000.
The news conference was held prior to an unprecedented three-day, two-night sightseeing excursion to Wuchiu organized by the two private groups. Some 100 people from Taiwan proper are expected to take part in the excursion scheduled for August 31-September 2.
Wuchiu, under the administrative jurisdiction of Kinmen, is Taiwan's smallest rural township, with a population of around 350, including 300 military personnel.
There is no regular ferry service between Kinmen and Wuchiu. A former elementary school on the islet has been closed for several years.


Updated : 2021-06-23 08:24 GMT+08:00