It said Beijing “had not made any arrangements for mainland tour groups to visit Taiwan” and had “unilaterally announced changes to civil flight paths … that would affect aviation safety”.

“After taking the change of circumstances and the safety of Taiwanese travellers into account, it has been decided that the plan will no longer be implemented,” the statement said.

The statement added that tours planned between March and May that had been confirmed would be allowed to go ahead, but those scheduled after May should be cancelled.

Taiwan needs ‘reciprocity’ despite resuming mainland China business travel

It also urged Beijing to “open up group tours to Taiwan for mainland travellers as soon as possible”.

Taiwan began allowing mainland Chinese tour groups to visit in 2008, and individual travellers three years later.

However, cross-strait relations soured after Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) became president in 2016 and Beijing suspended the individual travel arrangement in 2019.

From 2020 until October 2022, Taiwan suspended all visits, including those by mainland China, as part of its Covid-19 prevention measures.


Taiwan’s antique jade sector loses its lustre amid cross-strait tensions and weak post-Covid economy

Taiwan’s antique jade sector loses its lustre amid cross-strait tensions and weak post-Covid economy

Mainlanders who live or study overseas have been allowed to travel to Taiwan since September, but tourists based on the mainland remain barred.

Beijing resumed Covid-19 restricted outbound travel in 2023, but not to Taiwan.

The recent election of the DPP’s William Lai Ching-te as the next president has frustrated Beijing, which has labelled him a “troublemaker” for his stance on independence.

Mainland Chinese students arrive in Taiwan for visit aimed at easing tensions

Beijing’s Civil Aviation Administration last week adjusted a civil flight path, M503, which lies just west of the sensitive median line of the Taiwan Strait, a nominal halfway point between Taiwan and mainland China.

Analysts said the move could affect Taiwan’s air defence deployments.

Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office, which handles cross-strait affairs, described the re-routing as a “routine operation” to ease flight congestion, ensure flight safety and meet the growing demand for air travel in the region.

But the island’s Civil Aviation Administration, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Mainland Affairs Council have condemned the move.

Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its territory, to be reunited by force if necessary. Most countries, including the United States, do not recognise Taiwan as an independent state, but Washington opposes any attempt to take the self-ruled island by force and has pledged to arm Taiwan.

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