Tourist liaison offices to be opened by China, Taiwan


TAIPEI — Taiwan and China will open up semi-official tourist liaison offices, in yet another sign of fast-warming ties between the onetime fierce rivals, an official said here Monday.

Representatives from the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association and China’s Cross-Straits Tourism Exchange Association made the decision during talks in Hong Kong in early July, a Taiwanese official said on condition of anonymity.

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Both associations are semi-official organisations set up to promote tourism between mainland China and Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

The Taiwanese tourism official declined to provide further details about the agreement. According to Taiwan’s state Central News Agency, the two sides have agreed to set up the liaison offices before year’s end.

About 360,000 Chinese nationals have visited Taiwan since July 2008, when Ma Ying-jeou’s Beijing-friendly government trebled the daily quota on Chinese visitors to 3,000.

Ties between Taiwan and China have improved dramatically since Ma took office last year, pledging to boost cross-Strait trade and tourism.

China and Taiwan have been governed separately since they split after a civil war in 1949.