Taiwan respects other countries’ decisions not to include it in their first lists of tourists allowed entry when they reopen their borders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
The Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday reported that the Japanese government was considering reopening the country to tourists from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand first.
Greece on Friday announced that from June 15, it would allow visitors from 29 countries, including Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea and Germany.
Japan has not yet finalized its visitor list, but the ministry has conveyed its hope that Tokyo would include Taiwan, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing in Taipei.
Ou did not directly answer a question on whether Tokyo had asked Taiwan to reopen its borders to Japanese tourists, saying that Taiwan has its own considerations.
If other countries do not open up to Taiwan because Taiwan does not do the same for them, the nation understands and respects their decisions, she said.
Greece’s list involves countries with which it has direct flights, not the tourists’ nationality, Ou said.
As there is no direct flight between Taipei and Athens, Taiwanese would have to transfer flights through other countries, which would expose them to a higher risk of infection, she said.
Taiwanese could still visit Greece if they are willing to transfer flights in high-risk countries and abide by disease prevention requirements, she said, while advising people not to travel to Europe as it is still covered by the ministry’s red warning on travel.
Strictly controlling virus transmission risks at the nation’s border is essential to containing the disease and Taiwan’s success has won global acclaim, Ou said.
The government would protect people’s health, security and overseas travel rights while monitoring COVID-19 developments at home and abroad when assessing whether to adjust border control measures, she added.
Taiwan has since March 19 banned the entry of all foreign nationals, with the exception of Alien Resident Certificate holders, members of diplomatic or official missions, those honoring a business contract and people granted special permission by Taiwan’s representative office in their home country.
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