More than 2.6 million passengers have traveled between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan Province via two major sea routes launched seven years ago, local authorities said on Wednesday.
The Xiamen-Jinmen route has transported more than 2.44 million people since it started operation on January 2, 2001. More than 670,000 passengers made round trips via the route in 2007.
A total of 20 ships operate between Xiamen of Fujian Province and Jinmen of Taiwan Province every day, according to the frontier inspection station of Xiamen city in the eastern coastal province.
A total of 102 sickened or injured passengers have been transported via an emergency aid service by the route to the mainland and Taiwan for medical treatment over the past seven years.
The Mawei-Mazu sea route, which also welcomed its seventh anniversary of operation on Wednesday, has been used by 170,000 passengers.
Six ferries are serving on the route and the passenger flow increased by 79 percent annually, according to the frontier inspection station of Fuzhou, the provincial capital.
The third sea route was opened in June 2006 to link Quanzhou of Fujian to Jinmen, but the current passenger flow is minor compared with the other two routes.
The three direct shipping routes have become so-called golden traffic lines between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan Province.
Cross-Strait charter flights are in service for major Chinese traditional festivals of the Lunar New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Duanwu Festival and the Qingming Festival.
The mainland has been calling for the realization of "three direct links" -- direct trade, transport and mail services across the Straits.
(Xinhua News Agency January 3, 2008)