The EU’s list of safe nations to which it would reopen borders next week does not include Taiwan, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the list has not been finalized and some EU countries have highlighted the importance of “reciprocity.”
The provisional list comprises Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the Vatican, the New York Times reported on Friday.
The EU said it would add China, considered one of the “acceptable countries,” if it also opens its borders to EU travelers, the newspaper reported.
Backed by most EU ambassadors, the list must still be formalized in member states’ capitals as well as in the central EU bureaucracy before taking effect on Wednesday next week, it reported.
Reciprocity is an important consideration factor for the bloc, the ministry said in a news release, citing the principles released by the EU Commission on June 11.
Certain EU member countries also underscored reciprocity to the ministry, which it has relayed to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), it said.
At this stage, the ministry would continue to follow the CECC’s principle of “retaining strict border controls while loosening domestic restrictions” and exchange opinions with the EU, it said.
In addition to reciprocity, protecting people’s health is also important when the two sides reopen borders, the ministry said.
Political factors cannot be ruled out, as China continues to hamper Taiwan, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said yesterday on Facebook.
The EU’s move is similar to Japan, which did not include Taiwan in its first list of tourists allowed entry, while Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has advised Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to lift restrictions for Taiwan, he said.
Taiwan should face the fact that political and economic considerations are prioritized by other countries when reopening borders, despite the global respect for the nation in its containing the COVID-19 pandemic and providing medical aid, he said.
The nation should also carefully examine other countries’ disease prevention standards when considering lifting travel restrictions for them, he said.
Under increasing pressure to reopen borders, the CECC this week gradually lifted certain travel restrictions with conditions, such as shortening the quarantine period for short-term business visitors, opening Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport for transit tourists who stay for less than eight hours and allowing foreign students from low-risk countries to enter.
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