Taiwan waives visa restrictions for friendly nations

By Benjamin Flowers
Staff Reporter

In a move to solidify its relationship with Caribbean allies, the Republic of China (Taiwan) announced this week that it would relax visa restrictions for 10 friendly nations.

Residents of Belize, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines can now visit for up to 30 days, while residents of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua had restrictions eased for 90-day visa-free visits.

Under the new relaxed restrictions, residents from countries that benefit can enter the Republic of China (Taiwan) as long as they have no criminal record, hold a passport valid for at least six months, and have a return flight or boat ticket.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that the relax in restrictions is a move “acting upon the principles of mutual benefit and reciprocity,” given that the 10 countries on the list already grant visa-free access to Taiwanese nationals, and have been included in Taiwan’s eVisa programme, launched in 2016.

“The Republic of China decided to grant visa-free privileges to these 10 diplomatic allies from 12 July 2017 in the hope that such benefits will lead to an increase in tourism, business, trade and cultural exchanges at multiple levels,” the Ministry said.

The move comes a month after the Government of Panama severed all diplomatic ties to the Republic of Taiwan, to establish relations with the People’s Republic of China.

The president of Panama decided to side with the PRC in the 68-year conflict between the two countries, saying that his country believes in the “One China” principle.

With Panama’s departure, only 20 countries continue diplomatic relations with Taiwan: six from East Asia and the Pacific, two from Africa, 11 from Latin America and the Caribbean (Belize being one of them), and the Holy See.

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