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Barricades removed for 100 to swim to Taiwan

AUTHORITIES on Chinese mainland and Taiwan have agreed to remove underwater military barricades and let 100 people swim from one side to the other, Taiwan officials said yesterday.

The 8.5 kilometer swim, billed as the latest symbol of peace between the two sides, is set for August 15 between the southeast mainland city of Xiamen and Little Kinmen, an islet township just west of Taiwan's outlying island of Kinmen.

"The bigger meaning is that this is a competition for peace," Kinmen County Magistrate Lee Chu-feng told a news conference. "We want peace, not war."

Military officials have agreed to remove anti-ship landing barricades - spikes mounted at an angle on cement bases and designed to spear warships headed toward shore.

Protected by coast guard boats from both sides, about 100 professional swimmers, 50 from each side, will set off from Xiamen.

Next year, the plan is to do the swim in reverse and make it an annual event.


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