Taiwan to weigh Chinese premier's wish to visit
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, March 14 (CNA) The Taiwan government will carefully consider whether to issue a permit to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who has expressed an interest in visiting Taiwan after he retires, a senior official said Wednesday.
Even as a retiree, Wen will still be seen as an "individual with special status," according to Liu Te-shun, deputy minister of mainland affairs.
Therefore, the government will weigh all factors related to cross-strait relations, including the political atmosphere, Liu said.
At a press conference earlier in Beijing, Wen was asked whether he would like to visit Taiwan as an independent traveler when he retires next March.
"Frankly, I would love to go [to Taiwan]. But it depends on the conditions at the time," he responded.
The Free Independent Traveler (FIT) program was launched last July, allowing mainland Chinese citizens to visit Taiwan individually and not just in tour groups.
Wen's name became well known in Taiwan in 2009 after he said that he "would like to go to Mt. Ali, Sun Moon Lake and indeed everywhere in Taiwan."
"If I'm too old to walk, I would like to go -- even if I have to crawl," he said
(By Chen Hung-chin and S.C. Chang)
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