Taiwan is taking steps to restart its “mini” transport links to mainland China. Ferry services are the first to be restored in stages from January 2023.
The connections were launched back in 2001 and are part of the so-called 3 mini links: transport, trade, and postal services between Taiwan’s offshore islets of Quemoy, also popular as Kinmen, Matsu, and Xiamen, Mawei and Quanzhou in China's Fujian province.
Taiwan suspended the transport links back in February 2020 because of concerns over the worsening COVID outbreak in mainland China.
In a cabinet meeting, Premier Su Tseng-chang approved a month-long plan to restart ferry services between the 2 islets and the mainland.
After the meeting, cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng told reporters the ferry services to operate between January 7th and February 6th, 2023, would be limited to residents of Kinmen/Matsu as well as the mainland Chinese spouses of local residents.
According to Lo, the ferry services would be resumed so that residents of the 2 islets and their mainland Chinese spouses could visit relatives and friends, or return to Kinmen/Matsu, during the Lunar New Year holiday, beginning on January 21st.
However, Taiwanese businesspeople based in mainland China would not be able to take the ferry services to the islets, according to Chiu Tai-san, heading the policymaking Mainland Affairs Council.
Chiu revealed that the decision had been taken due to opposition from locals/concerns over the capacity of the health system to deal with a potential influx of COVID cases brought by non-residents.