Tue, Sep 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Thailand’s visa-free lag not tied to ‘one China’: MOFA

Staff writer, with CNA

Thailand’s procrastination on granting reciprocal visa-free treatment to Taiwanese passport holders is not primarily due to its “one China” policy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said.

Since Taiwan implemented 30-day visa-free entry for Thai nationals in August last year as part of its New Southbound Policy, Thailand has not yet reciprocated, but its top envoy in Taipei said that Bangkok was studying the move.

The Thai government is taking all factors into consideration before making a final decision, Thai Representative Piroon Laismit was quoted as saying in the Chinese-language China Times on Thursday.

Asked to comment on the report, Winston Chen (陳文儀), the director-general of the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said he was not aware that Thailand was planning to offer visa-free privileges to Taiwanese anytime soon.

However, the Taiwanese government would welcome such a decision, he said.

Thailand’s adherence to the “one China” policy was not the main reason why it had not yet reciprocated one year after Taiwan granted visa-free entry to Thai citizens, he said.

Chen also rejected media reports that Thailand was unwilling to reciprocate because its income from visa application fees was contributing significantly to its national revenue.

“A decision to grant visa-free entry to a foreign country requires input from different government branches, and the Thai government is still seeking consensus within its public sector,” Chen said.

Visitor arrivals from Thailand rose 57 percent last year to 195,640, Tourism Bureau data showed.

Thailand is ranked as one of the top five travel destinations for Taiwanese, with the number of visitors from Taiwan averaging 400,000 to 500,000 per year.

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