MAC minister urges China to stop limiting tourists

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Feb 07, 2017 - Page 3

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Katharine Chang (張小月) on Sunday called on Beijing not to limit the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan and to allow greater interaction, communication and friendship between people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

The government will seek to attract more visitors, including independent Chinese tourists, by introducing more extensive travel packages and improving the quality of its tourism services, Chang said.

Chang made the remarks on the sidelines of a Lunar New Year celebration for Taiwanese businesses operating in China, after the Travel Agent Association of Taiwan (TAAT) released data that showed a record low daily number of 966 applications to visit Taiwan by Chinese tourists on Thursday last week.

She added the council was pleased to see a report in the Hong Kong media that China was considering Taiwan’s request of granting civil rights to Taiwanese working and living in China.

When asked whether relations between Taiwan and China would improve this year, Chang said she hopes the two sides would create a new model for interaction.

Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May last year, cross-strait relations have cooled, due mainly to China’s insistence that the so-called “1992 consensus” is the sole political foundation for the development of cross-strait exchanges and the Tsai administration’s refusal to accept that precondition.

The “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) said in 2006 that he had made up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese government that both sides acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.