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Travelers depart for US on Visa-Waiver Program

Fri, Nov 02, 2012 - Page 3

On the first day the US granted visa-waiver status to Republic of China (ROC) passport holders, 77 Taiwanese tourists on board China Airlines CI006, which took off at 5:10pm from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, were the first group to travel to the US without a visa.

During a ceremony at the boarding gate at the airport terminal, China Airlines chairman Chang Chia-juch made the announcement to mark the first direct flight from Taiwan to the US after the implementation of the US Visa-Waiver Program.

On board the aircraft, a Boeing 747SP, were 351 tourists, including a "VIP guest," American Institute in Taiwan Director Christopher Marut, Chang said.

Among the travelers who boarded the airplane, 109 held ROC passports, and 77 enjoyed visa-waiver access, Chang said.

The TSAC does recognize that Taiwan contains two (major) groups of people, and that one of these groups is fully entitled to carry ROC passports.   For more detailed analysis, see native Taiwanese and ROC exiles.

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The departure of the CI006 flight was a "historical moment" because it signified that the relationship between Taiwan and the US "has taken off" on all fronts, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin said.

"It will create more opportunities for business-to-business exchanges and create closer bilateral ties in all the possible areas," he said.

Under the program, Taiwanese traveling to the US for a stay of no more than 90 days need to apply for the electronic system for travel authorization (ESTA) online using a fee of US$14. The permit is valid for two years.

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The TSAC objects to US immigration authorities accepting "ROC passports" as valid travel documents for native Taiwanese persons. We believe that the false claims of "citizenship of the Republic of China" for native Taiwanese persons should render their ROC passports illegal under US law.