Taiwan to convert Kinmen military sites into tourist attractions


Taiwan – Military officials in Kinmen County agreed yesterday to hand over two vacant military sites to civilian authorities that the county’s leader hopes to convert into popular tourist attractions.

Kinmen County Councilor Li Wo-shi, accompanied by Kinmen military officials, visited three military sites in the northwestern part of the main island to see how the vacant military compounds could be used and made more visitor-friendly.

Li had high praise for a military site in Nanshan near the Beishan cliff, which he said featured spectacular sea views. However, because some soldiers were still stationed there, military officials did not agree to its release.

The two demilitarized sites that the military agreed to hand over were a 1,119m2 site in Wushantou and a 3,600m2 site adjacent to the Guningtou Battle Museum.

Li said the Kinmen County Government would purchase four electric vehicles next year so that visitors could travel around the Guningtou Battlefield more easily.

Located much closer to China’s southeastern coast than to Taiwan proper, Kinmen served as the frontline in hostilities between Beijing and Taipei.

Taiwan has scaled back its forces on Kinmen in recent years, removing a valuable source of income for the island county.

The county has turned to tourism to try to fill the gap and has turned Cold War era relics and battlefields into some of the area’s prime attractions.

One of those is the Guningtou Battlefield, where China’s People’s Liberation Army launched a surprise attack on Oct. 25, 1949, only to be repelled by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) forces.