October 16, 2008 / 4:13 AM / 11 years ago

Chinese man plans paper boat voyage to Taiwan

Zhu Yalin uses ping-pong bats to paddle a boat made of paper, and held together with a flour-based glue, near Xiamen, Fujian province, October 13, 2008. Picture taken October 13, 2008. REUTERS/China Daily

BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - A Chinese man is planning to use ping-pong bats to paddle a boat made of paper, and held together with a flour-based glue, to an offshore island controlled by diplomatic rival Taiwan.

State media said on Thursday Zhu Yalin, a high school teacher from the southwestern province of Sichuan, finished a 800-meter (2,625 ft) trial-run earlier this week near the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen, the official China Daily said.

From there, he plans a six-km (3.7-mile) paddle across to Kinmen, an island controlled by Taiwan since defeated Nationalist forces fled China at the end of the civil war with the Communists in 1949.

“I will stay here and improve my boat to make sure of a successful voyage on the 31st,” the Beijing Morning Post quoted him as saying after being stopped by big waves off Xiamen.

Zhu managed an 80 km “drift” down Sichuan’s Min river in another paper boat in 2005, the newspaper added.

While Zhu said he hoped his adventure could promote peaceful exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, the report did not say whether Taiwan had agreed to the plan.

Kinmen, also known as Quemoy, is a heavily fortified island, though in recent years regular ferry services have begun between it and China as ties between Beijing and Taipei warm.

Reporting by Liu Zhen, editing by Ben Blanchard and Miral Fahmy

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