Wed, Apr 03, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Ministry keeps travel alert for South Korea unchanged

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said it is keeping a close watch on the situation on the Korean Peninsula, but would not raise its travel alert level for South Korea at this time.

Although tensions on the Korean Peninsula have ratcheted up recently, the South Korean society, economy and stock market remain stable, said Ting Gan-cheng (丁干城), an official at the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Furthermore, during a visit to China last month, Kim To-jun of North Korea’s General Bureau of Tourism said that “there’ll be no war on the Korean Peninsula, so send as many tourists as possible,” Ting added.

Taiwan would maintain its “gray” travel alert for South Korea — the lowest on the ministry’s four-color scale — which advises caution, Ting said, noting that many large countries have not issued any travel advisories for that region.

However, residents of Taiwan have been advised to avoid unnecessary travel to North Korea, in accordance with an “orange” travel alert issued by the ministry.

Taiwan and South Korea have close private-sector exchanges and there are about 20,000 Republic of China passport holders there, according to Ting.

Separately yesterday, the Tourism Bureau said that people planning to travel to Myanmar may want to reconsider, as the ministry has raised its travel alert for that country from “yellow” to “orange” following the escalation of religious conflicts in Myanmar’s Mandalay region.

In the ministry’s four-color travel advisory system, an “orange” alert is the second-highest level, after a “red” alert.

Hong Yi Travel Service vice manager Kuan Chia-hsin (關佳昕) said that Taiwan does not have many tour groups heading to Myanmar.

“It is a new travel destination for tourists from around the world, but the hotels available to tourists are very limited,” Kuan said. “Most travelers from Taiwan would head to Yangon [Myanmar’s commercial capital] on business trips.”

The bureau said travelers in tour groups can apply to postpone their trip to Myanmar or to transfer to other tour groups, in accordance with the terms stated in the Template of the Standardized Contract for Overseas Tours (國外旅遊定型化契約書).

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