A tourist from China takes a selfie in front of a Taiwanese flag, in Taipei, Taiwan. File photo/ Reuters
China stepped up pressure on Taiwan on Wednesday as it announced the suspension of individual travel permits to the self-ruled democratic island “due to current cross-strait relations.”
A programme had allowed Chinese citizens in 47 mainland cities to apply for permits to visit Taiwan on their own instead of visiting on group tours.
But the tourism ministry said in a brief statement that their issuance would be suspended from Thursday “due to current cross-strait relations.”
Relations between Communist-ruled Beijing and Taipei have plummeted since President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016 because her party refuses to recognise the idea that Taiwan is part of “one China.”
As punishment, Beijing has cut official communications, ramped up military exercises, poached diplomatic allies and ratcheted up economic pressure on the island.
The Canadian Consulate in Hong Kong said on Friday it has suspended travel to mainland China for local staff, just days after an employee of the city’s British Consulate was confirmed
China’s accelerated military modernisation poses a clear and growing threat to Taiwan, and US intervention might only risk intensifying pressure from Beijing, US defence officials say. Washington’s top US military officer in Asia-Pacific Admiral Philip
The KMT ruled China before retreating to Taiwan at the end of a civil war with the Communists in 1949. While ties across the Taiwan Strait have improved dramatically in the last three decades, Beijing continues to claim Taiwan as its own territory.
Authorities estimated there were at least 600 injuries so far, and Little Rock police were transporting people to hospitals as there were not enough ambulances to respond, according to local media outlet KTHV.
Thousands of people have gathered at flour distribution centres set up across the country, some as part of a government-backed programme to ease the impact of inflation.
The pope, 86, was taken to Rome's Gemelli hospital three days ago after complaining of breathing difficulties. He has responded well to an infusion of antibiotics, his medical team has said.