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Chen Shui-tsai: Wider Links with the Mainland
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New limited direct links between Taiwan and mainland could expand into full-blown trade, transportation and postal ties before the end of this year, the head of a Taiwan delegation visiting the mainland said on Wednesday.

Chen Shui-tsai, county commissioner of the Kinmen island, made the remark on the second day of a four-day visit to southeast China's Fujian Province, inaugurating historic direct ferry links to the mainland.

They are referred to as the "three mini links," as they open up trade, transportation and postal ties only between the Taiwanese islands of Kinmen and Matsu and the south Chinese ports of Xiamen and Fuzhou.

The mainland has repeatedly demanded the "big three links," allowing exchanges to take place between all of Taiwan proper and the entire Chinese mainland. According to Chen, these may be established soon.

"If the operation of the three small links go smoothly, then the three big links could take place before the end of the year," said Chen. "It may not even take that long."

Chen made the remark while visiting the Xiamen Municipal Dadeng Market, an hour's drive away from downtown Xiamen.

He and his 180-member delegation arrived in Xiamen from Kinmen on Tuesday on board two ferries marking the first direct officially sanctioned crossing of vessels between Taiwan and the mainland for more than 51 years.

Chen met with Xiamen Mayor Zhu Yayan on Tuesday and will visit various cities in Fujian Province before returning to Kinmen on Friday.

(China Daily 01/03/2001)

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