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U.S. allows visa-free travel for Taiwanese
WASHINGTON (AP)--The U.S. announced Tuesday visa-free travel for Taiwanese visiting America.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano described it as a "logical development in close security, economic and people-to-people" ties between the U.S. and Taiwan.
From Nov. 1, Taiwan joins 36 countries whose nationals can travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days without a visa.
It is not a privilege enjoyed by China.
Coming during a U.S. election campaign where both presidential candidates are keen to show they are tough on China, the announcement could be timed to demonstrate the Obama administration is sticking up for self-governing Taiwan, an island China claims as part of its territory.
But the waiver is also viewed as a response to Taiwan's lifting of restrictions on U.S. beef imports and for President Ma Ying-jeou's easing of tensions with China. It is unlikely to raise many hackles in Beijing.
Napolitano said she expected the waiver program to boost Taiwanese arrivals to the U.S.