Taiwan minister wants visa waiver for travelers from Vietnam and Indonesia: reports

Proposal is expected to meet resistance due to national security concerns

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Indonesians in Taiwan.

Indonesians in Taiwan. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In order to stop an expected fall in the number of tourists visiting Taiwan this year, Minister without Portfolio Chang Jing-sen (張景森) is expected to propose giving a visa waiver to visitors from Vietnam and Indonesia, the Apple Daily reported Thursday.

As part of its New Southbound Policy, the government has already given visa waivers to citizens of other Southeast Asian countries, but the measures came under fire when Thailand briefly announced earlier this week it was raising visa fees for some visitors from Taiwan. It abandoned the move after a backlash which includes boycott threats from travel agencies.

On Friday, Chang is to attend a closed-door meeting with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior and the National Immigration Agency where he will propose the expansion of the visa waiver, according to the Apple Daily.

The expected suggestion comes amid fears that in contrast to recent years, the total number of foreign visitors to Taiwan for 2018 will not reach 10 million, the Apple Daily reported.

However, Chang’s move is likely to encounter opposition from other government officials concerned about the impact on national security, due to the possibility of more illegal workers and potential terrorists entering the country, according to the Apple Daily.