China-friendly Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has expressed plans to boost ties with the mainland through removing landmines that served as barriers against Chinese communist forces over the next six months, AFP reports.
Two Taiwan-controlled islands off the southeastern coast of Xiamen province have been out-of-bounds due to the landmines since the 1950s, after the Chinese Civil War that separated Taiwan from the mainland. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory under the controversial One China policy.
The removal of the landmines symbolizes Taiwan’s enthusiasm to improve ties with the Beijing under Ma’s administration. The plan was announced during the visit of Jordan’s Prince Mired bin Raad Al-Hussein as a UN special envoy to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.
Tensions between Taiwan and China eased since Ma became president in 2008. Opposition protested his recent re-election as head of state, criticizing his “one Republic of China, two regions” platform, claiming that independence is important for all Taiwanese.