Xiamen, June 17 (CNA) China's Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi announced Sunday that China will extend the validity of travel documents for Taiwanese people visiting China to two years.
From July 25, the maximum validity of such travel permits will double to two years, Wang said during the fourth Cross-Taiwan Strait Forum being held in the Chinese city of Xiamen.
He added that the cities of Nanning in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Wuxi in Jiangsu Province will be added June 20 to the current 28 locations in China allowed to handle travel permit services for Taiwanese citizens.
Changchun City in Jilin Province is also scheduled to provide the services this year, according to Wang.
In addition, China will allow imports of Taiwanese rice and increase the number of tourist groups allowed to visit Taiwan, as well as expanding the scale of the Free Independent Traveler (FIT) program for Chinese visitors to Taiwan, he said.
He added that the Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the China Construction Bank and the China Development Bank will offer 600 billion Chinese yuan (US$94.25 billion) in loans in the next three to four years to Taiwanese businessmen seeking to develop their presence in China.
Meanwhile, China will ease restrictions for Taiwanese citizens to work in China and will allow Taiwanese people to teach in China's higher education institutes, Wang added.
The National Natural Science Foundation of China and Fujian Province will jointly set up a cross-Taiwan Strait science and technology fund, which will receive 30 million yuan each year, he went on, adding that cross-strait cultural exchanges will also be expanded.
(By Chen Hung-chin and Jamie Wang)