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Taiwan to set up check points for Chinese vessels

Taiwan to set up check points for Chinese vessels

Taipei: Chinese vessels calling at Taiwanese ports will have to undergo inspections at six checkpoints set up by Taiwan's minister of National Defense Chen Chao-min. The move, set up under measures to protect Taiwan's national security, comes as the countries signed agreements, including one for direct shipping links  between the long term political rivals, to cement economic ties.

"When discussions were made over the planning of direct shipping links and air transport with China, the government always placed national security as the top priority," Taiwan News quotes Chen as saying. He added that the locations of the checkpoints are to remain secret to safeguard Taiwan's national security.

"In particular, on the issue of direct shipping links between the two sides, if any crisis situation should occur in our ports, I hereby guarantee that the Defense Ministry will be able to handle all relevant matters. These checkpoints will examine every Chinese vessel making for Taiwanese ports. It is a measure that will ensure the safety of Taiwanese waters and Taiwan's national security," he was reported to have stated.

The direct cargo link was hailed by business owners in both countries as it is expected to cut shipping costs by 15-30% due to a possible 27 hour reduction in vessel transit times depending on the ports involved.  [18/11/08]