Thu, May 05, 2005 - Page 3 News List

NSB worried about visitors from China

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

In the wake of China's offer on Tuesday to allow more people to visit Taiwan, the National Security Bureau (NSB) yesterday expressed concern about the the security implications of a possible influx of Chinese tourists.

"The bureau is assessing the security impact of the easing of the travel ban on Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan, and will offer an evaluation to the government soon," NSB Deputy Director Wang Chin-wang (王進旺) said at the legislature yesterday.

Nonetheless, Wang told the legislature, the move would definitely have some impact on Taiwan's national security.

He said that an influx of illegal immigrants from China would contribute to domestic security problems.

Wang said that the bureau was also concerned about the possibility of espionage by visitors from China.

In response to a question about China's offer of a pair of pandas, Wang said that Taiwan and China are still adversities, so Beijing's offer could be seen as part of Beijing's "united front" approach to win the hearts of the Taiwanese people.

As for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) support of the so-called "1992 consensus" in China, Wang said that the government has on many occasions discounted the consensus, which embodies the "one China" principle.

"NSB Director-General Hsueh Shih-ming (薛石民) recently said in the legislature that, according to the bureau's analysis, there is no such a consensus," he said.

Cabinet Spokesman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) said yesterday that the government was willing to negotiate with Beijing about a relaxation of travel restrictions and reducing tariffs and restrictions on the export of Taiwanese fruit to China, but that Beijing should demonstrate its willingness to tighten security in these cross-strait exchanges.

Cho said that China should screen travelers before they leave the country, to help Taiwan send back those who overstay and to regulate travel disputes. Only then will Taiwan discuss allowing more visitors from China.

Cho said that, because Taiwan and China are both World Trade Organization (WTO) members, any negotiations on agricultural products and tourism would best be conducted under the auspices of the WTO.

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