媒體報導
Moves to improve HK-Taiwan ties (南華早報 2010-12-18 A3版)

Hong Kong will soon upgrade its tourism office in Taipei, a further step in improving ties between Taiwan and Hong Kong.

A delegation from the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council, which was launched in May, yesterday arrived in the city for a three-day trip. Its local counterpart, the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council, visited Taipei in August - the first meeting between the two bodies.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan said the Tourism Board had submitted application documents to Taiwanese authorities for turning its existing representative office into one with full-blown functions to promote tourism. Now the office only handles inquiries.

"At the moment, the Hong Kong Tourism Board just has an officer [in its Taipei office]. What we are now doing is to upgrade it to be a fully-fledged representational office of the Tourism Board, with a strengthened and enhanced role," said Lau, who met the delegation as a vice-chairwoman of the Hong Kong council.

The Taiwanese group, for its part, announced plans to launch a fund next month to encourage Hong Kong academic institutions and other groups to travel to Taiwan for cultural exchange activities. Subsidies will cover air tickets, insurance, venues for hosting events and other costs.

"We highly regard exchanges between the young people of Taiwan and Hong Kong," Lin Chen-kuo, chairman of the Taiwan council, said.

The two councils have agreed to hold a joint cultural summit in April.

Lin also met Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. During the 20-minute meeting at Government House, he suggested that Hong Kong waive all visa requirements for visitors from Taiwan.

"Hong Kong has granted visa-free entry to visitors from some 170 countries, but why not Taiwan? Aren't we brothers?" Lin said at a press conference afterwards. He said Tsang had agreed that arrangements should move toward that direction.

The cultural subcommittees of both councils will meet today to further discuss co-operation plans.

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