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Chinese mainland remains committed to promoting coss-Strait tourism
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17:40, October 31, 2007

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The Chinese mainland will continue to push Taiwan to allow mainland residents to visit the island despite the deadlock in cross-strait tourism negotiation, a mainland official said on Wednesday.

"To allow mainland tourists to visit Taiwan is our established policy...And we will, as always, continue to push for the early realization of it," Yang Yi, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said.

The mainland removed the ban on mainland residents to visit Taiwan in May 2005 in order to expand people-to-people contacts and help boost Taiwan's tourism industry.

Since October 2006, non-governmental tourism organizations on both sides of the Taiwan Straits have conducted six rounds of talks and reached consensus on major technical issues, but have been unable to conclude a final agreement.

Yang said the mainland had demonstrated great sincerity and flexibility during the negotiations and offered many practical solutions. "It's fair to say that we have tried untiringly and made our greatest efforts.

"The mainland should not be blamed for the failure of opening Taiwan-bound tourist routes to the mainland residents," he said.

Early this year, mainland tourism chief Shao Qiwei accused Taiwan authorities of setting up obstacles in the way of mainland tourists who want to visit Taiwan.

Shao said it was necessary to point out that mainland residents traveling to Taiwan were not taking country-to-country trips.

He urged the Taiwan authorities to "follow the will of the people and adopt a practical and positive attitude" in solving the remaining problems relating to cross-strait travel.

Currently, mainland residents cannot travel directly to Taiwan, but they can travel to Taiwan from outside the mainland. The mainland government has been pushing for the "three direct links" of transport, mail and trade.

Experts have estimated that Taiwan would reap revenues of 26.5 billion New Taiwan Dollars (803 million U.S. dollars) annually if it hosted a 1,000 mainland tourists a day.

Taiwan tourism businesses are ready for the imminent arrival of mainland tourists, Taiwan media have reported.

Taiwan residents have made 42.4 million trips to the Chinese mainland since 1987, when Taiwan allowed its residents to visit relatives on the mainland. Mainland residents made 1.5 million trips to Taiwan in the same period.

Source: Xinhua

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