China is mounting pressure on Taiwan on Wednesday as it announces the suspension of individual travel permits on its own island government following tense relations between the two countries.
Relations between Beijing and Taipei have deteriorated since President Tsai Ing Wen came into power in 2016 as her party leadership refused to accept that Taiwan was part of China.
As a punishment, Beijing severed all official ties, increased military training, infiltrated diplomatic allies and increased economic pressure on the island.
The latest move coincides with Taiwan’s preparation for the January election, with Beijing’s favorite candidate Han Kuo Yu of the Kuomintang opposition party hoping to defeat Ing Wen.
Previously Chinese citizens from 47 cities in the country were allowed to apply for a permit to visit Taiwan privately under a program rather than on a group visit.
But the travel ministry said in a statement today that the issuance of the permit would be suspended for now following tensions between the two countries, a move that would have a detrimental effect on Taiwan’s economy.
The same statement however did not mention any restrictions on group visits.
The Taiwan Tourism Bureau in a brief statement said their stance on welcoming Chinese tourists was unchanged despite the actions taken.