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Taiwan set to open two islands off China

Published on Jun 30, 2014 9:58 PM
 
This handout photo taken and released by the Kinmen County Government on June 30, 2014 shows a fortified islet in the Taiwanese Kinmen island group near mainland China. Taiwan on Monday placed two military outposts facing China under civilian control, in a significant step towards opening them to tourists and another sign of the warming ties between the two former bitter rivals. -- PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan on Monday placed two military outposts facing China under civilian control, in a significant step towards opening them to tourists and another sign of the warming ties between the two former bitter rivals.

Ta Tan and Er Tan - two tiny fortified islands in the Kinmen group, just a few miles from the southern Chinese coastline - were transferred by Taiwan's defence ministry to the local Kinmen county government.

"Ta Tan and Er Tan used to be crucial military defence posts," Taiwan's Premier Jiang Yi-huah said at a ceremony to formalise the transfer.

The Kinmen islands were heavily shelled by Chinese forces in the late 1950s. Ta Tan was the scene of a bloody battle between Chinese Communist troops and Kuomintang (Nationalist) forces during the civil war that ended with the split between Taiwan and the mainland 65 years ago.

 
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