China to allow Taiwan tourism

May 21, 2005 at 6:54 PM

BEIJING, May 21 (UPI) -- China has announced it will allow organized Chinese tour groups to visit Taiwan, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

National Tourism Bureau officials have urged Chinese and Taiwanese travel agencies to discuss how to operate tourism groups "in a planned, orderly and step-by-step way."

Chinese travel to Taiwan has been the subject of tight controls from both governments since Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan with his forces in 1949 after losing to Mao Zedong's Communists. China has since demanded that Taiwan renounce its de facto independence, causing a long and volatile standoff.

The change in travel rules followed an April visit to China by Lien Chan, chairman of the Nationalist Party once headed by Chiang, and a visit two weeks later by James Soong, head of the island's other main opposition group.

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