Video: War-era island near China prepares to welcome tourists

Radio Taiwan International 
Date: 01 March, 2019
By: Andrew Ryan

Former soldiers that were stationed on Dadan Island have returned to help the island usher in a new era of tourism. (CNA photo)

There’s a tiny island just half a kilometer from the southern Chinese coast, which has a big name: Dadan (or Courage) Island. Even though it’s close to China, it’s part of Taiwan’s Kinmen Island chain. It has the nickname “the frontline island of all frontline islands.” That’s a nod to the island’s past as an important outpost for Taiwan’s military.

For years, Taiwan’s soldiers have stood watch against a possible attack from China. In fact, the Chinese military shelled the island back in the late 1950s. But this year, beginning on March 1, the island will open for the first time to tourists from Taiwan, shedding a little more light on its cold war past.

Fifty years ago, these men were stationed on Dadan Island. They may have grown older, but they still remember their moves like it was yesterday.

These former soldiers are helping welcome tourists, a new phase in the island’s history. There’s a daily limit of 150 visitors and you have to register in advance. Tours leave from Lieyu, also known as Little Kinmen. Tickets cost NT$1,500 (or about US$50), and they’re half price for residents of Kinmen.

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