Taiwan: Tourism Talks With China
The negotiations between
Below are extracts from an article written by the Associated Press and published by the International Herald Tribune:
Negotiations to bring more of
Taiwan's Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council has made the economic package a priority, but it's unclear if it can be reached before President Chen Shui-bian leaves office next May .
The tourism talks have been under way for several years, and are viewed as part of a package that includes parallel discussions on direct charter and cargo flights between
The package is aimed at facilitating closer economic links between the sides, which despite splitting amid civil war in 1949 have a close economic relationship.
But progress on the package is stuck, the Taiwanese official told The Associated Press on Wednesday [18 July 2007].
The official, who is experienced in cross-strait relations, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.
"The negotiations on the charter flights are moving but it's useless if just the charter flights are moving forward," the official said. "This is because the sides have linked charter flights and tourism together and there hasn't been any progress on advancing tourism."
A spokesman for
"Negotiations on both tourism and charter flights are still under way, but I cannot disclose details about them," said Liu Te-shun.
Under a long bruited plan, Taiwan would allow as many as 365,000 Chinese tourists to visit the island annually — about ten times the current number.
A major sticking point has been
Regular commercial flights between the two have been banned since the sides split, and direct charter flights are confined to major holidays — including the Lunar New Year.
Taiwanese businesses hope charter flights can bring a larger number of Chinese to spur the sagging local tourism industry, though some in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party oppose an expansion, because of fears it could increase Taiwanese economic dependence on the mainland, and even facilitate an influx of Chinese spies.
Many in the party favor making
While Chinese tourism to
An estimated three million Taiwanese travel to