Taiwan cabinet to review efficacy of New Southbound Policy

The possibility of allowing visa waivers for citizens of Vietnam and Indonesia is low

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Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (CNA)

Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Sparked by controversy over the rapidly changing visa fee policy by the Thai representative office in Taiwan, Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森) is convening a meeting Aug. 31 to conduct an overall review of the efficacy of the New Southbound Policy, reports said yesterday.

The cabinet-level meeting, to be attended by representatives from foreign affairs and the interior ministries, will discuss the impact on national security and social order by the visa waiver programs Taiwan has implemented for a number of Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Brunei, and the Philippines, wrote Radio Taiwan International.

Chang dismissed reports that the meeting will decide whether to extend the visa-waiver policy to cover Indonesia and Vietnam, stressing that the government will focus rather on examining the effects brought about by visa-free entry for the above-mentioned countries, which were measures aimed at boosting tourism.

A more sound assessment and improved support measures will be put in place before there are any moves to put more countries on Taiwan’s visa-waiver program list, Chang noted.

Chang is expected to receive briefings by relevant agencies on the results of the visa policy for New Southbound countries, and it is unlikely that the meeting will produce a decision to grant visa waivers for citizens of Vietnam and Indonesia for now, said sources familiar with the meeting.