China urged not to further reduce tourist numbers to Taiwan

Taipei--Taiwan's top China policy official on Sunday called on Beijing not to further limit the number of Chinese tourists permitted to visit Taiwan and to allow opportunities for greater interaction, communication and friendship between the people on both sides.

On its end, the Taiwan government will seek to attract more visitors, including independent Chinese tourists, by rolling out more extensive travel packages and improving the quality of its tourism services, said Chang Hsiao-yueh (???), chief of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

Chang made the comments on the sidelines of a Lunar New Year celebration for Taiwanese businesses operating in China, after the Travel Agent Association of Taiwan (TAAT) released data that showed a record low daily number of 966 applications by Chinese tourists on Feb. 2 to visit Taiwan.

She also said that the MAC was pleased to see a report in the Hong Kong media that China was considering Taiwan's request to grant its nationals living and working in China the same civil rights as Chinese citizens.

On the question whether relations between Taiwan and China would improve this year, Chang said she hoped the two sides would create a new model for interaction.

Since Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (???) took office last May, cross-Taiwan Strait relations have cooled, due mainly to China's insistence that the "1992 consensus" is the sole political foundation for the development of cross-strait exchanges and the Tsai administration's refusal to accept that precondition.

The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between China and Taiwan, which then had a Kuomintang (KMT) government, that there is only one China, with both parties free to interpret what that means.

Since Tsai came to office, there has been a steady decline in the number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan, likely caused by the deterioration in cross-strait relations.

However, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government is pushing a New Southbound Policy to develop closer ties with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members and India.

The government hopes the policy will diversify investment and trade so that Taiwan would be less economically dependent on China, including in the tourism sector.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel