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Lawmaker accuses Cabinet of mini-links policy flip-flop

Lawmaker accuses Cabinet of mini-links policy flip-flop

Independent lawmaker Chen Fu-hai accused the Cabinet yesterday of doing a policy flip-flop on the expansion of the mini-direct cross Taiwan-Strait links, claiming that it is only using the outlying islands as a tool in its cross-strait policies.
Chen made the comments to reporters after Government Information Office Minister Vanessa Yea-ping Shih explained a day earlier that Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) only asked the Mainland Affairs Council Friday to come up with a draft proposal on further opening the mini-links within two weeks and to further promote the links based on a goal of liberalization in the shortest possible time.
Shih's clarification marked a departure from a Friday promise made by Liu at the Legislative Yuan to make the mini-links available to all Taiwanese citizens within two weeks.
The mini-links refer to direct shipping and trade services set up between Taiwan-held Kinmen/Matsu islands and several ports in China's Fujian Province since January 2001 to offset the negative impact of such links between Taiwan proper and China.
At present, the direct transport routes are only open to those with household registrations on Kinmen and Matsu and Taiwanese businessmen working in Fujian. The routes allow such people to travel to China without having to travel via Hong Kong or Macau, which takes longer and is more costly.
By opening up the links to all Taiwanese, people who want to travel to China can go through Kinmen and Matsu instead of Hong Kong, Macau or another destination such as Jeju Island in South Korea.
Chen, who questioned Premier Liu Chao-shiuan on the issue during a legislative intepellation session Friday, said the premier must be held accountable for every word he says. It is understandable should the Executive Yuan decide to put off the opening out of concern over its needs to also cover the postal and telecommunications aspects of the links, but the opening would not be any difficult with a modification in administrative rules if it is merely confined to ferry services, according to Chen.
The lawmaker said the policy flip-flop was a result of some MAC officials' mindsets who still view Kinmen Island as a tool in the government's cross-strait policies and who keep adding new restrictions.


Updated : 2021-04-20 16:26 GMT+08:00