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Taiwan ponders suspending links with China

TAIPEI - Taiwan's government will evaluate whether to suspend direct trade and transportation between the outlying island of Kinmen and mainland China as a measure to contain the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), a Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official said on Thursday.

MAC vice chairman Johnnason Liu made the remarks after being informed of a resolution adopted by the Kinmen county council to suggest that the central government suspend the so-called "mini three links" for one month.

Liu said Premier Yu Shyi-kun had instructed the Ministry of the Interior and the MAC to convene related government agencies to meet on Friday to discuss the matter and to present their opinions and decisions to the cabinet for final approval.

The exchange of visits through the links, which were opened on January 1, 2001, have markedly decreased since the SARS outbreak in March, Liu noted.

According to statistics compiled by the MAC, he continued, 997 people departed for mainland China from Kinmen, as well as Matsu, another Taiwan-controlled island covered by the mini three links, during the period between April 28 and May 14, while 901 arrived on the two islands from the mainland. The resolution also suggests that the Kinmen county government should impose a 10-day islandwide quarantine to stem the potentially deadly disease from spreading there.

(Asia Pulse/CNA)
May 17, 2003


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