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New preferential policies to boost cross-Strait ties

(Xinhua)

08:26, June 18, 2012

Wang Yi, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council (Cabinet), delivers a speech at the 4th Straits Forum in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, June 17, 2012. The 4th Straits Forum was held in Xiamen on Sunday. (Xinhua/Wei Peiquan)

XIAMEN, June 17 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese mainland introduced a package of preferential policies on Sunday in the areas of the economy, science, culture and education to strengthen ties with Taiwan.

Four banking institutions from the mainland -- including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Development Bank -- will offer a credit of 600 billion yuan (about 95 billion U.S. dollars) to Taiwanese-invested businesses in the mainland, announced Wang Yi, director of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office.

The mainland will also open the door to import rice from Taiwan, Wang said at the fourth Straits Forum in southeastern coastal city of Xiamen, in Fujian province.

The mainland's National Tourism Bureau will take measures to realize the target of 1.8 million Taiwan-bound tourists this year.

Residents in another 11 cities in the neighboring Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces west of the Taiwan Strait will be allowed to visit Taiwan's Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu islands as independent tourists, in addition to the nine cities in Fujian.

The mainland's public security authority will lengthen the validity of Taiwan residents' entry permit to the mainland from one year to two years, making it more convenient for them to stay in the mainland.

Taiwan residents can apply for the mainland entry permit at the airports of Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Wuxi, a city in Jiangsu province from June 20. They will be able to apply for the permit in Changchun, capital of Jilin province by the end of this year, taking the number of entry permit application points to 31 from 28.

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