Tourism, Flights, Fugitives on Agenda for China-Taiwan Talks

Posted June 8th, 2011 at 1:45 am (UTC-5)
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A plan to let Chinese tourists visit Taiwan on their own — rather than as part of tour groups — is expected to be approved at a meeting between Chinese and Taiwan officials in Taipei Wednesday.

The officials will review a total of six cross-Strait agreements negotiated by the two governments since Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008. Officials say the tourism plan could go into effect by the end of this month.

The delegates are also expected to discuss flight arrangements, with a goal of increasing the number of weekly flights between Taiwan and China to 500 from the current 370.

Taiwan news outlets say China may also announce its agreement to send 14 Taiwanese fugitives to Taipei. The 14 were extradited to China by the Philippines, sparking a diplomatic spat between Taipei and Manila.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council says 1.82 million tourists have visited Taiwan in organized tour groups since it lifted a decades-old ban on mainland visitors in July 2008. Until now, Taiwan has not permitted Chinese to visit on their own for fear they will overstay their visas and seek employment.

Taiwan says the Chinese tourists have injected more than $3 billion into the Taiwan economy.