TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan has ended visa-free treatment for citizens of El Salvador after the former diplomatic ally announced it would no longer give Taiwanese citizens visa exemptions last month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on Jan. 8.
Taiwan had previously announced a reciprocal visa-free entry program with El Salvador on July 2017 for a stay of up to 90 days as part of its efforts to boost travel exchanges and build closer ties with all of its diplomatic allies.
The two countries, however, cut ties on Aug. 21, 2018 after the Central American country switched recognition to Beijing.
Asked to comment on the decision, MOFA deputy spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said Tuesday it was made after El Salvador scrapped the deal first in December 2018.
“We learned of the decision on El Salvador’s part to cancel the visa-free treatment to Taiwanese passport holders in early December.
“Based on the principle of reciprocity, we therefore decided to cancel the visa-free treatment to El Salvador’s passport holders as well, starting Dec. 12,” she said.
Because El Salvador no longer has a representative office in Taiwan and no longer offers visa-free treatment, Taiwanese passport holders who want to travel there will have to apply for a visa from an El Salvador embassy in nearby countries, Ou said.
Taiwan currently has 17 diplomatic allies around the world.
By Joseph Yeh