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Taiwan mulls resumption of cross-strait travel ties: MAC

ROC Central News Agency

03/22/2021 04:55 PM

Taipei, March 22 (CNA) Taiwan's government is studying the possibility of gradually resuming travel between Taiwan and China, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Monday, urging Beijing to follow suit.

The council, Taiwan's top China policy agency, will continue to evaluate the possibility of a "phased" return to normal cross-strait travel, MAC head Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said at a hearing of the Legislature's Internal Administration Committee.

The evaluation will be undertaken in concert with other related agencies, he added.

The ongoing evaluation is examining existing laws and measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Chiu told lawmakers.

However, exchanges between the two sides should be bilateral and friendly, Chiu emphasized, urging China to "make corresponding adjustments," such as lifting its ban on Chinese graduates seeking higher education in Taiwan.

Taiwan reopened its borders to Chinese students last August, six months after the nation banned the entry of foreign travelers and students as the COVID-19 pandemic spread.

In response, Beijing announced its ban last April, excluding the Chinese students who are already studying at colleges and universities in Taiwan and willing to continue pursuing higher education in the country.

Beijing has so far failed to reciprocate to Taiwan lifting its restrictions on Chinese students.

Chiu, a former justice minister and member of the National Security Council, was appointed to head the MAC on Feb. 23, at which time he pledged to work to break the impasse with China without compromising the nation's sovereignty.

Beginning last week, Taiwan opened its doors to Chinese nationals who apply to visit for business reasons, more than one year after they were banned from doing so due to the pandemic, except for those holding Taiwan residency or the spouses and children of Taiwan residents.

(By Lai Yen-hsi and Elizabeth Hsu)

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