Pushing the normalization of cross-strait exchanges a step forward, the Executive Yuan yesterday approved a measure allowing Chinese nationals authorized by the Chinese government to travel or do business abroad to visit Taiwan. \nIn addition, Chinese nationals staying overseas, including Hong Kong and Macao, for over four years and obtaining a work permit will be allowed to visit Taiwan as well as their spouses and immediate relatives. \nThe trial scheme will go into effect on May 10. \nCurrently, only Chinese nationals studying abroad or having a permanent residency in a foreign country are allowed to visit Taiwan. \nAddressing a press conference after the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday morning, Cabinet Spokesman Chuang Suo-hang (莊碩漢) quoted Premier Yu Shyi-kun as saying that the new measure manifested the government's long-standing good-will and sincerity toward improving cross-strait relations. \n"We're calling for the Chinese authorities to reciprocate this good-will by allowing Chinese nationals to visit Taiwan and to open a brand-new era of cross-strait exchanges," Chuang said. \nThe Cabinet hopes the relaxation of the ban on Chinese tourist from China itself -- as opposed to those resident overseas -- would bring in more Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan which would boost the local tourism industry and related businesses. \nThe Cabinet aims to revitalize the nation's tourism industry by doubling the annual number of foreign tourists that visit Taiwan annually from the current 990,000 to 1.98 million within six years. \nOn Jan. 1 this year, the government kicked off a trial scheme to allow Chinese nationals studying abroad or having permanent residency in a foreign country to visit Taiwan. \nAs of April 30, a total of 179 Chinese nationals meeting the requirements had been approved to come, but only 78 of them did so. \nCritics said that certain requirements of the scheme may have sapped the enthusiasm of Chinese tourists. \nPoints at dispute include that Chinese tourists are required to return to their hotels before 11pm during their stay in Taiwan, and that at least 10 people are required to form a tour group to visit Taiwan. \nTsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council, told the press conference yesterday that certain adjustments will be made when the new scheme takes effect on May 10. \n"No more reporting before 11 pm, and the minimum number of people to form a tour group will drop from 10 to seven," Tsai said. \nA face-to-face interview for a visa will no longer be needed unless deemed absolutely necessary. \nHowever, Chinese tourists will still have to visit and leave Taiwan as a group and group members will not be allowed to go shopping or visit friends on their own.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan