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China refuses Taiwan’s request to evacuate citizens from Wuhan

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office not allowing Taiwan citizens to leave deadly coronavirus-affected city

The Chinese city of Wuhan 

The Chinese city of Wuhan  (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China has refused Taiwan’s requests to charter planes and bring its citizens home after being trapped in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Taiwan news outlet China Times reported on Tuesday (Jan. 28).

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) have requested that Taiwanese trapped in Wuhan, the center of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, be allowed to return home via charter flights, the report said. However, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) has refused the request, according to the report.

TAO Spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) issued a news release on Tuesday afternoon, stating that China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) received a letter from SEF at 6 p.m. on Monday, the Taiwanese news outlet said. The news release stated that reports of negotiations for the return of Taiwanese in the nation's media did not reflect the real situation.

Ma insisted that Taiwanese in Hubei Province, where Wuhan is located, have been well cared for. As of Monday afternoon, no Taiwanese in the province had been infected with the virus, Hubei Provincial Taiwan Affairs Office said.

Ma said China has a high regard for the well being of Taiwanese in China and that it had been in touch with officials since the beginning of the outbreak. He added that China had arranged for Taiwanese experts to inspect the situation in Wuhan and that it would continue to provide updates about the new disease.