Fujian starts providing fresh water to Kinmen, Taiwan

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A water pipeline connecting the Chinese mainland coastal province of Fujian to the island of Kinmen went into operation Sunday, delivering water from Fujian's Jinjiang River to alleviate water shortages.

The source of the water-diversion project is Longhu Lake in Jinjiang City, the second largest lake in Fujian.

The 28-km pipeline will provide 34,000 cubic meters of water daily to Kinmen, a small island attached to Taiwan but close to the mainland.

Nearly 3,000 Kinmen residents came to pose for photos at the reservoir where the water from Fujian is stored, with colorful balloons rising into the air to celebrate the historic moment.

"It is a big issue concerning people's daily life here in Kinmen," said 83-year-old local resident Huang Chin-tu, adding that he was pleased to witness the moment.

The investment totals 388 million yuan (about 57 million U.S. dollars) and the water price has been set at 9.86 new Taiwan dollars (around 0.33 U.S. dollars) per cubic meter.

"The smooth operation of the water supplying project concerning Kinmen people's welfare is a great event in the history of Kinmen's development as well as the cross-Strait relations," Liu Jieyi, head of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said at a ceremony held in Jinjiang.

Liu, also head of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, spoke of the mainland's 31 preferential policies for Taiwan, saying that they were aimed at expanding development opportunities in line with demand from Taiwan companies and people.

Liu said the mainland was ready to share its development opportunities with Taiwan compatriots and welcome them to board the "fast train of national rejuvenation."

Fellow Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Straits should unite as one, uphold the 1992 Consensus that embodies the one-China principle, and resolutely oppose and deter separatist elements advocating "Taiwanese independence," Liu said.

They should jointly work for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and advance the process toward the peaceful reunification of China, he said.

Tang Dengjie, governor of Fujian, said the project carried the hope of people from both sides of the Taiwan Straits for peaceful reunification, and common aspiration for a better life.

Tang said the Fujian provincial government would strengthen management to the water supplied to Kinmen residents was safe and clean.

In 1995, Kinmen authorities proposed diverting water from Fujian. The mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation in June 2013 publicized a consensus on solving the water problem.

Kinmen has seen an outflow of people and industry due to the long-term water shortage. Only about 60,000 of the 130,000-plus registered population are permanent residents.

"The water supplying project not only brings fresh water to tens of thousands of households in Kinmen, but also injects fresh impetus into economic growth," said Wu Chunjiang, chairman of the Kinmen Ludao Hotel.

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