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Inclusion of Taiwan in Laos Govt’s visa-waiver program for Chinese tourists gives false impression: Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry

Representative Image (Image Credit: Pexels)

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has said that a visa-waiver program for Chinese tourists announced by the Laos government includes elements that gives false impression that Taiwan is part of China, the Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

The document issued by the Laos government on Wednesday said that Chinese nationals travelling to Laos may visit the country visa-free for up to 15 days as part of a group tour. It also provided the itinerary approved by the Laotian Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.

The policy announced by the Laos government, valid from July 1 – December 31, also extends to tourists from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, according to the document, Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

According to Taiwan’s MoFA statement, the inclusion of Taiwan under Laos policy to boost tourism came amid pressure from Beijing and was aimed at giving the false impression that Taiwan is part of China, CNA reported.

Taiwan’s MoFA said that Taiwan and China are not subordinate to each other and Laos should not collaborate with China to undermine Taiwan’s sovereignty and international standing. Taiwan has shared its position regarding the issue with the Laos government through Taiwan’s representative office in Vietnam, according to the statement.

Moreover, Taiwan’s MoFA said that Taiwanese tourists need on-arrival visas for travelling to Loas despite the policy introduced by the government as per the clause mentioned in the document.

It further stated that there has been no change to the current rule, which requires Taiwanese tourists seeking to travel to Laos to obtain an electronic or on-arrival visa, CNA reported.

Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, has long been a contentious issue in China’s foreign policy, with Beijing considering the island as its territory that must be reunified with the mainland, if necessary by force.