The policy-making Central Standing Committee of the ruling Nationalist Party today unanimously approved the lifting of a 38-year ban on visits by the people of Taiwan to China, a committee member said.
The member, who requested anonymity, said the resolution was referred to the Interior Ministry with a recommendation that the new policy be adopted and announced "at an early date," probably in a few days.
He said the 28 members at the meeting acted solely on humanitarian grounds to allow residents of Taiwan to visit relatives. Taiwan banned visits to China after the Communist takeover of the mainland in 1949.
"Not a single member objected and none mentioned anything like political counteroffensive," he said.
The member said President Chiang Ching-kuo said at the end of the meeting that the change will have no effect on the government's "three-'no' policy"--no contact, no negotiation and no compromise at official levels. The policy prohibits direct trade with China, although indirect trade through third countries totaled $671 million in the first half of 1987.
Chiang also said precautions should be taken to prevent the visitors from jeopardizing national security. Under the precautions, the source said, visitors will not be allowed to be in contact with Chinese officials or to engage in activities other than meeting relatives and sightseeing.
Government officials said earlier that under the new rules, only government employees and military personnel will be barred from visiting mainland China because they might disclose confidential information. All other Taiwan residents, regardless of age, may go as tourists or to visit relatives, the officials said.
The sources said the group rejected earlier suggestions made by security-conscious officials that only people over 55 who have close relatives on the mainland be granted permission to go to China.
The government move was viewed by many as a way to acknowledge what has been going on for years. Reports from Hong Kong indicate that tens of thousands of people from Taiwan have passed through the city on their way to China.