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Minister's post about China visitors is his personal view: Cabinet

2016/09/05 18:15:48

(CNA file photo)

Taipei, Sept. 5 (CNA) The Cabinet said Monday that a Facebook comment by Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森) describing Chinese visitors as Taiwan's most needed friends was his personal view and did not represent the stance of the Taiwan government.

"Chang was not voicing an official Cabinet policy," said Cabinet spokesman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源).

Chang, who is also the convener of a Cabinet committee that promotes tourism, said in a Facebook post Sunday that Taiwanese should be aware that there is a difference between the government of China and the people of China.

Visitors from China are "Taiwan's most-needed friends … and the Taiwan public should not discriminate against them through careless words or actions," Chang wrote. "If the majority of Chinese develop an antipathy toward Taiwan, Taiwan would be in real danger, in my view."

Commenting on Chang's post, Tung said that despite a decrease in tourist arrivals from China this year, the total number of visitors to Taiwan had increased 7.9 percent year-on-year in the first seven months of 2016 to 6.28 million.

In an effort to mitigate the impact of the sharp decline in tourist arrivals from China, however, the Taiwan government will help travel and tour agencies restructure their tour packages and tap into new markets like Muslim countries, Tung said.

"We will also continue to welcome visitors from China," he said.

Last year, Taiwan saw a record of 4.18 million visitor arrivals from mainland China.

(By Tai Ya-chen and Lilian Wu)