Sat, Dec 23, 2006 - Page 2 News List

MAC calls for increased cooperation with Macau

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Photographers take overviews of Macau from the Macau Tower on Sept. 5.

PHOTO: AP

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday called on Macau to collaborate with Taiwan in forging a framework for normalized and institutionalized dialogue and engagement between the two sides.

The council, which is charged with charting Taiwan's policy toward China, made the appeal in a report on Macau's general situation and its civilian exchanges with Taiwan since the territory's return to China.

The report, which was issued to mark the seventh anniversary of Macau's return to Chinese control on Dec. 20, 1999, said the international community has given a generally positive review of Macau's developments over the past seven years.

As to relations between Taiwan and Macau during the seven-year period, the council said in the report that it regrets that bilateral official contacts have remained restricted and limited, despite a continued growth in civilian exchanges between the two sides.

According to official tallies, Taiwan remains the third largest source of visitors to Macau, and Taiwanese citizens form the bulk of passengers on the Taiwan-Macau air route.

Statistics compiled by immigration authorities showed that Taiwan nationals made 1.137 million visits to Macau in the first 11 months of this year, a 4.7 percent growth year-on-year. In contrast, Macau residents made only 17,000 visits to Taiwan during the same period, up a mere 0.5 percent from the year before.

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