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Taiwan Urges Citizens to Avoid Travel to China, Hong Kong, Macao

Photo : AP

In response to China's threat to hunt down and execute "hardcore" supporters of Taiwan independence following the election of Lai Ching-te as president, Taiwan has urged its citizens to avoid travel to China, Hong Kong, and Macao. The advisory, issued by Liang Wen-chieh, spokesperson and deputy head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, underscores escalating tensions amid Beijing's persistent claims of sovereignty over Taiwan.

Since Lai Ching-te's election from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Beijing has intensified its rhetoric and actions against Taiwan. Relations between the two have remained strained since the 2016 election of former president Tsai Ing-wen, who refused to accept Beijing's "One China" policy, a prerequisite for diplomatic engagement according to Beijing.

Liang Wen-chieh emphasized the risks associated with visits to China under the new guidelines concerning "secession crime," cautioning Taiwanese citizens against expressing political opinions or engaging in activities that could provoke Beijing's ire. While not imposing a travel ban outright, the advisory serves as a precautionary measure amid heightened political sensitivities.

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Despite these tensions, hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese annually travel to China for business, tourism, or family reasons. Beijing has facilitated visits by Taiwanese officials and leaders from the opposition Nationalist Party, which advocates eventual reunification with the mainland. However, China has also leveraged economic and military pressures, including military exercises and naval deployments near Taiwan, as strategic tools to influence Taiwan's policies.

The situation underscores the complexities of cross-strait relations, characterized by political rivalry, economic interdependence, and military posturing. As Taiwan navigates these challenges, the government's advisory aims to safeguard its citizens while navigating a delicate diplomatic and security landscape.

June 28, 2024 12:15 p.m. 495

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