China builds pressure on Taiwan, prohibits individual Taiwan visits

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China said on Wednesday that it was prohibiting journeys by private Chinese tourists to Taiwan, quoting the present circumstances and state of relations with the democratically controlled island, in what seems to be another attempt to boost economic and diplomatic stress on Taiwan to pester it to support Beijing’s stance that Taiwan is Chinese territory.

Wednesday’s one-sentence notification from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism stated that such journeys would be banned from Thursday “because of the two parties ‘ present relationship.” It didn’t say anything about suspending Chinese trips as participants of the tour group.

China had allowed individual travel by residents of only 47 main towns to Taiwan. Other people either had to travel in group tours of apply for permission via particular travel agencies. 

The impact of the shift on the tourism industry of Taiwan, which also attracts large amounts of tourists from Japan, Southeast Asia and South Korea, drawn by its many beguiling beaches, beautiful hills and famous street food, is uncertain.

China has deterred tourism in Taiwan while working to stripping off the few remaining diplomatic allies of Taiwan. China has also been blocking its participation in international meetings. It has cut off all connections with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wei’s independent government, briefly after her 2016 election.

The decrease in group trips had triggered demands from those operating at a reduced level of the travel industry for government assistance. 

China also seems to intensify its threat to destroy Taiwan by using military force, causing the island’s armed forces to hold two days of live-fire drills this week coinciding with the military exercises by the Chinese forces on the coast of the mainland facing the island. 

The defense ministry of Taiwan said the exercises at the Jiuping facility in Pingtung’s southernmost county included testing 12 kinds of rockets with ranges up to 250 kilometers (155 miles) far enough to aim targets in the interior of the continent.

Li Chao Ming, Ministry Deputy Chief of Staff said on Tuesday, a total of 117 projectiles were shot with a precision level of over 95% but refused to define the rockets by names. Li further stated that AGM-Harpoon missiles were also fired from two F-16 fighter jets of the air force which hit a pair of retired landing ships. 

The largest annual Taiwan Han Kuang drills held in May showcased primitively developed weapons including the air defense missiles Sky Bow I and Sky Bow II and the anti-ship missile Hsiung Feng III.

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