September 28, 2017 / 7:51 AM / 2 months ago

Taiwan to allow visa-free entry for visitors from Philippines

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan will allow visa-free entry for visitors from the Philippines in hopes that the Southeast Asian nation will reciprocate the gesture, a spokesman for the self-ruled island’s cabinet said on Thursday.

Taiwan does not have formal diplomatic relations with the Philippines, which recognizes the “one China” policy under which Manila acknowledges the Chinese position that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of it.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province to be taken back by force, if necessary.

Whether the visa-free policy takes effect in October or November is to be decided by the foreign ministry, said Hsu Kong-yung, the spokesman of Taiwan’s executive yuan, or cabinet.

“After we open up the visa-free arrangements, in view of equal mutual benefits, we also hope they will make visa-free arrangements with Taiwan,” he told a news conference.

Taiwan already has visa-free arrangements with Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. The government is continuing this year with a pilot scheme with Brunei and Thailand kicked off last year.

It is also considering visa-free arrangements with Indonesia and Vietnam, according to a government document seen by Reuters.

A government spokesman did not immediately answer telephone calls from Reuters to seek comment on the Indonesia and Vietnam plans.

Reporting by Jess Macy Yu; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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