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ECCT visit to Kinmen Island

As part of the ECCT's ongoing programme as a nationwide association to actively engage in cooperation with municipal governments all across Taiwan, ECCT members and guests took a trip to Taiwan's outlying island of Kinmen. The outing began with a lunch meeting with Dr Wu Cherng-Dean, Deputy Magistrate, Kinmen County Government (the equivalent of deputy mayor). The lunch was attended by 30 people, including ECCT members and guests and officials from the Kinmen County Government. The lunch was followed by a tour of the island. Besides the deputy magistrate, the following other officials and dignitaries attended the lunch: Li Bin, Director, Economic Affairs Department; Chen Mei-ling, Director, Tourism Department; Li Wen-liang, Director, Education Department; Austin Wang, Executive Secretary, Industrial Development and Investment Promotion Committee; Li Jin-zhong, Secretary-General, Chamber Of Commerce; Huang Jing-shun, President, Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor and Shi Zhao-min, Mayor, Jincheng Township

During the lunch, Deputy Magistrate Wu outlined his vision for the future development of Kinmen. Among other subjects he spoke about business opportunities in Kinmen, which include the travel and tourism, medical tourism, green energy, electric vehicles, beverage, retail and luxury goods sectors.

Kinmen has an interesting history as a front-line battle ground between opposing forces in the Chinese civil war, which has since developed into a popular tourist location and a trading point between Taiwan and mainland China given its close proximity to the mainland. Direct travel between mainland China and Kinmen re-opened in January 2001 under the so-called "Mini Three Links", and there has been extensive development of tourism and trade on the island since then. Many Taiwanese businesspeople use the link through Kinmen to enter the Chinese mainland, especially via Xiamen. Since 1 January 2015, tourists from Mainland China have been able to directly apply for exit and entry permits upon arrival in Kinmen, further boosting the flow of people and goods. Kinmen is famous for the production of Kaoliang liquor, seafood and for producing knives made from the remaining of shells fired by the People's Liberation Army between 1958 and 1978.

The tour of the island included a visit to the famous Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor company, Jhaishan Tunnel and a steel knife factory. Kinmen has a large network of underground tunnels which were used by the Republic of China Armed Forces during wartime and for military exercises. Participants explored the Jhaishan tunnel, one of the most famous. At the visit to the knife factory, guests were able to see how one of the unfortunate consequence of the Chinese civil war is being exploited as a viable business concern. In a variation of the proverbial swords to ploughshares theme, some of the thousands of artillery shells fired from mainland China to Kinmen during the civil war are being melted down and processed at the factory into high quality knives.