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Premier firm on expanding mini links in two weeks

The Executive Yuan will definitely deliver on its promise of making the mini direct links available to all Taiwanese people within two weeks, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan said Wednesday.
"The Executive Yuan will approve the mini links expansion proposal next week in line with its planned establishment of direct passenger weekend charter flights across the Taiwan Strait and the opening to more Chinese tourists from July 4," Liu said.
The government's promise to expand the mini links to all Taiwanese citizens will be made a reality," Liu told reporters during a lunch meeting.
"In principle, no restrictions will be imposed on the number or the status of the passengers traveling on the routes," the premier said.
The mini-links -- direct shipping and trade links between Taiwan's Kinmen and Matsu islands and Xiamen and Mawei ports in China's Fujian Province -- were set up in January 2001 to help boost development on the two islands and to mitigate the impact of the lack of such links between Taiwan proper and China.
Only residents with household registrations on the islands, Fujian-based Taiwanese businessmen and their dependents and the people from Taiwan-controlled Penghu islands are permitted to use the mini links, while Quanzhou, also in Fujian Province, was added to the service last year.
The Kinmen and Matsu people are keen to have the mini links further expanded as direct transport services are set to be put in place across the strait.
Asked why the direct cargo charter flight service issue has not been included in coming cross-strait negotiations, the premier said negotiators from the two sides have already discussed the issue in previous rounds of talks.
The cargo charter issue will certainly be included in future negotiations between the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and Beijing-based Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), Liu said.
The premier gave his best wishes and threw his full support behind SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung -- Taiwan's top negotiator in the SEF-ARATS talks, saying that he is optimistic about the outcome of the negotiations, which have been suspended for some 10 years.

Updated : 2021-08-03 00:04 GMT+08:00