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Hong Kong opens representative office in Taiwan

2012/05/15 18:57:44

Taipei, May 15 (CNA) Hong Kong's representative office in Taiwan will work to promote financial, trade and cultural exchanges between the two sides, Hong Kong officials said in Taipei Tuesday, when the office began official operations.

"With the Asia-Pacific region gradually becoming the core of the world's economy, I believe a win-win situation will be achieved if Hong Kong and Taiwan can work together," said Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang, who officiated at the opening of the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taipei.

To further facilitate the entry of Taiwanese visitors to Hong Kong, Tsang also announced that starting this September, Taiwan nationals will be able to apply for prior entry registration online for free.

The much anticipated program is expected to greatly boost travel exchanges since Taiwanese travelers currently can only obtain visas for Hong Kong through travel agencies that usually charge fees of between NT$300 (US$10.17) and NT$800.

The office is also expected to facilitate greater Taiwan-Hong Kong exchanges in areas such as investment, financial services, education and healthcare, according to John Leung, the office's director.

Improved relations between Taiwan and China over the past four years have made it possible for there to be official government-to-government contact between Taiwan and its neighbors Hong Kong and Macau, which opened a representative office in Taipei May 13.

Last July, Taiwan's representative office in Hong Kong was renamed to reflect its status and function in what both sides called "a major milestone" in cross-strait relations.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong had been known as the Chung Hwa Travel Service since 1966 as a holdover from when the territory was still a British colony.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)