Saturday, 27 September, 2008

Digital Tour Buddy for International Backpackers Exploring Taiwan

1.To Promote Tourism in Taiwan Among International Youth, approved by official Executive Yuan document 0940037554, of 26th August, 2005.

2. Organization of the main services and facilitating measures of the Promotion Plan for Youth Travel in Taiwan 2006-2008.

3. Tour Taiwan Year 2008-2009: National Youth Commission might broaden the range of service age about “ Digital Tour Buddy program” for a more convenient environment to international backpackers.”

Two. Purpose
1. To provide international youth backpackers traveling in Taiwan with                      convenience and security.
2.      To take advantage of Taiwan’s strengths in science and technology to enable international travelers to experience the applications of that science and technology.

Three. Organizers:
1.      Sponsor: National Youth Commission (Executive Yuan)
2.      Co-sponsors: Tourism Bureau Ministry of Transportation and Communication, Rep. of China (Taiwan), China Telecom Corporation Limited, Inventec Appliances Corporation

Four. Effective dates:
From 1st May, 2008 date to 31st December, 2009

Five: Target applicants:
1. 500 Digital Tour Buddies will be in circulation. They will first be given to the service category comprising international travelers entering and visiting Taiwan to travel as backpackers (special short-term entry visa, limited to those who are sightseeing or studying). People outside of this category will not be eligible.

2. Each applicant will be limited to one application per entry to Taiwan. There are two types of application. Rules of use.

a. Before-entry application: the maximum period of each loan will be 30 days.
b. After-entry application: the maximum period of each loan will be 15 days.

Six. Digital Tour Buddy functions and equipment.
1.      Digital Tour Buddy functions:
(1)   Phone calls and text message

(2)   Brief messages to assist with daily life (providing general travel news and related news, at concessionary rates.)

(3) Speed dialing (including 24-hour Bureau of Tourism tourist information hotline, the special line for foreigners in Taiwan, the National Youth Commission’s Youth Hub, Chinese Taipei Youth Hostel Association, the Greater Taipei taxi service line, and so on.)

(4) Dictionary

2.      Digital Tour Buddy equipment.
Includes cell phone account and basic equipment (OKWAP A272-Cell phone, SIM card, lithium cell, battery charger, operations manual and user instructions), phone bag. 

Seven. Concessionary measures:
In order to encourage backpackers to make use of this service, the first 2,008 borrowers will be given NT$200 worth of free calls (limited to calls made in the Taiwan Area) by the National Youth Commission, and China Telecom Corporation.

Eight. Application procedure:
1. Type of application:
(1) Before-entry application: online application
          International backpackers should visit the National Youth Commission youth travel website, http://youthtravel.twand complete the online booking application form seven days to thirty days before entering Taiwan.

(2) After-entry application:
   A. online application
              International backpackers should visit the National Youth Commission youth travel website, and complete the online booking form three days before picking up the Digital Tour Buddy.
          B. on-the-spot application
              International backpackers can visit the Youth Hub and fill in the on-the spot application form at the service counter at 10:00~21:00 Tuesday to Sunday.

(3) For online application, on receipt of the National Youth Commission’s approval, they should print the approved booking form.

2. Obtaining the equipment.
(1) Before-entry application:
 International backpackers entering the country must bring relevant documents with them, including approved booking form、passport、passport copy、one extra valid ID (Pleas see additional remarks 1). Issuing of equipment will take place at tourist service center in Terminal One and Terminal Two of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport or Service Counter at Youth Hub of National Youth Commission (1F, No.31, ZhongXiao E. Rd. Sec. 1, Taipei 100). Applicants whose applications have been approved, having left the copy of their passport and the other ID document as security, will be issued with the Digital Tour Buddy.

(2) After-entry application:
   A. Online application:
      After-entry application is limited to pick up the equipment at Youth
Hub of National Youth Commission only (1F, No.31, ZhongXiao E. Rd. Sec. 1, Taipei 100). International backpackersmust bring relevant documents with them, including approved booking form、passport、passport copy、one extra valid ID (Pleas see additional remarks 1). Applicants whose applications have been approved, having left the copy of their passport and the other I.D document as security, will be issued with the Digital Tour Buddy.

 B. On-the-spot application:
              International backpackers must bring relevant documents with them, including passport、passport copy、one extra valid ID (Pleas see additional remarks 1) and fill in the on-the-spot application form at Youth Hub at 10:00~21:00 Tuesday to Sunday. Applicants, having left the copy of their passport and the other I.D document as security, will be issued with the Digital Tour Buddy.

(3) This service is not an inalienable right of international backpackers entering Taiwan; in the case of persons whose applications have been approved prior to their entry to Taiwan, if their visas or other application credentials are not those stipulated, has the right to cancel the loan, and the applicant will have no form of redress.

3. Returning the equipment.
Before the expiry of the loan period, borrowers are to take their passport, Digital Tour Buddy and accessories, and the customer’s copy of the booking form, to tourist service center in Terminal 1 or Terminal 2 of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, or the National Youth Commission’s Youth Hub service counter (1F, No.31, ZhongXiao E. Rd. Sec. 1, Taipei 100), to return the equipment. When the equipment has been checked, confirmed to be undamaged, and accepted, the copy of the passport and other ID document will be returned to the borrowers.

Nine. Matters to note when applying. 
1.      The National Youth Commission will provide a total of 500 Digital Tour Buddies. Once all these have been issued to applicants, no further applications will be accepted, until equipment has been returned and sterilized, when Digital Tour Buddies will again become open to applications online.

2.      This service has its roots in faith in international backpackers. Its only security is the copy of the passport and the second ID document; no financial deposit is charged. We ask the international backpackers who will be availing themselves of this service to cherish the equipment and to return it within the stipulated period, so that it can circulate and enable more backpackers to enjoy convenient information services and travel safety (Pleas see additional remarks 2 & 3).

3.      Papers: International backpackers collecting the equipment must take their passport (original and copy), approved booking form (for online application) and valid ID document (Pleas see additional remarks 1) to prove their identity, and leave the copy of their passport and the ID document as security for the loan.

4.      The equipment: Includes a Taiwan OKWAP A272-Cell phone, SIM card (The first 2,006 borrowers have NT$200 worth of free calls), lithium cell, battery charger, operations manual and user instructions, phone bag, and the applicant’s portion of the application form. 

5.      Service Hours and Locations:
(1) Tourist Service Centers at Terminal One and Terminal Two of Taiwan
Taoyuan International Airport: 7:00~23:30, All Year Round.

(2) Youth Hub Service Counter of the National Youth Commission, (1F, No.31, ZhongXiao E. Rd. Sec. 1, Taipei 100): 10:00~21:00, Tuesday to Sunday.

(3) International backpackers may obtain and return the equipment at the
location appointed on the application form during the service hours. If you wish to change the appointed location, please notify NYC three days in advance by phoning 02-33225550 or e-mailing, Thank you.

6.      Contract: All international backpackers applying for a Digital Tour Buddy must sign a short-term loan contract with the National youth commission.

Ten. Other points:
1. If the international youngster has run out free credit (NTD200), he or she can top up mobile by purchasing ideal card (recharge voucher) launched by Chungwha Telecom from convenience stores, such as 7-11, Family Mart, Hi-Life, OK & Nikomart. In conjunction with their Digital Tour Buddy, International backpackersmay also utilize their own original cell phone’s roaming functions or choose to purchase a Taiwan IF card, available at retailers throughout the island, and providing unrestricted communication throughout the Taiwan Area. Users of Digital Tour Buddies who choose to purchase an IF card will only receive travel briefings, high-speed dialing and pre-paid calls when the Digital Tour Buddy’s original SIM card is installed.

2. This project will end on 31st December 2009. The National Youth Commission will review the demands of the project before deciding whether to continue with it.

Austria's Delegates visit to NTUST, Taipei

To Promote bilateral cooperation with Austria in technological and vocational education, the Ministry of Education on September 8, 2008 signed a memorandum on cooperation in general and vocational training with the Ministry of Education, Art and Culture of the Federal Republic of Austria. 

Witnessed by Political Deputy Minister Lu Mu-lin and Mrs. Sieglinde Spanlang, head of Austria's Tourism Department, Chen Ming-yin, Director General of the Department of Technological and Vocation Education (TVE) and Dr. Theodor Siegl, Director General of the Department of Technological and Vocational Education, the Ministry of Education, Art and Culture of the Federal Republic of Austria sign the memorandum.

After sign a memorndum with Taiwanese officals, Austria deligates visitied my university (National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, NTUST). Our school presented a nice introduction about university, Taiwan Building Technology Centre (TBTC), University- Industry Cooperative Centre (UICC), Taiwan NCP programme. 

NTUST opens lotto, gaming research center

The National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) established on 29th November 2007,  the first Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming in Taiwan to conduct the research on the thriving gaming business and help train industry professionals.

Officially named the Taiwan Lottery and Gaming Research Center, it will start offering relevant courses to postgraduates in the university’s MBA programs.

Future steps will include providing undergraduate courses and setting up a department of gaming.

Professor Chen Shih-shun, NTUST president, conceded that personally he has never purchased a lotto ticket. But he said he recognizes the role of the gaming industry in a modern and democratic society like Taiwan.

He said the new center is part of the university’s aspiration to internationalize its study program by cooperating with other higher learning and research institutions in other nations.

Prof. Liu Dai-yang, director of the center, has been engaged in gaming research after he started teaching business management at NTUST in 1988.

Liu was consigned by the Ministry Finance (MOF) and other government agencies to carry out research before the government revived the public-interest lottery several years ago.

In addition to the current Taiwan Lottery, the government is ready to launch the sports lottery soon.

Liu said the sports lottery game alone will create annual revenues for over NT$100 billion to support sports activities and social welfare programs.

With proper management Liu believes the gaming business will help reenergize business activities, create more job opportunities, and attract more tourists to the island when the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector continues to decrease.

Both neighboring Macau and Singapore have been recruiting staff from Taiwan for their gaming business. The wages they offer range from more than NT$50,000 a month to NT$1 million each year.

The figure are highly attractive for college graduates whose starting pay has declined to a little over NT$20,000 as the local economy has been trapped in prolonged doldrums for almost eight years.

A couple of universes and colleges in Taiwan have already been offering gaming courses to meet the demand from both domestic and overseas markets.

William Eadington, professor of economics and director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno, was among the guests invited to participate the ceremony marking the establishment of the NTUST’s lotto and gaming study center.

He said the gaming industry has become more mature with the extensive development in both upstream and downstream business.

The Internet has also vastly globalized modern business operations and created tremendous business opportunities, he said.

He suggested that the government here follow the examples of Melbourne, Australia and Singapore to integrate developments in the gaming business and tourism industry.

As an internationally recognized authority on the legalization and regulation of commercial gambling, Prof. Eadington has written extensively on issues relating to the economic and social impacts of commercial gaming,

He organized the First through Eleventh International Conferences on Gambling and Risk Taking between 1974 and 1997.

Dr. Eadington has also served as a consultant and advisor for governments and private sector organizations throughout the world on issues related to gaming laws, casino operations, regulation, legalization and public policy. He is a founding member of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism, and a former Associate Editor of the Annals of Tourism Research and the Journal of Gambling Studies.

NCP-Taiwan Bridging the technology R&D between EU and Taiwan

On September 1st (2008), the "national contact point of EU-FP, Taiwan office (NCP-Taiwan)” will officially open at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) funded by the National Science Council (NSC). The establishment of NCP-Taiwan will initiate the cooperation in technology research and development between Taiwan and the European Union (EU); this will be a new milestone in Taiwan. Cross-border cooperation will be beneficial and helpful for excellent R&D teams of both Taiwan and EU. By actively participating in the EU FP7 program, Taiwan can benefit from this world-class research program.

“The Seventh Research Framework Programme (EU-FP7)" is launched in 2007. EU-FP7 provides some advantages exclusively for EU’s Member States, such as a platform of integrating international technology development and the financial support. Except for members, if other countries intend to cooperate with the EU members countries, setting up a "National Contact Point (NCP) of EU framework program" will facilitate the participating at EU-FP7 for making use of this platform.

The technology research and development of every country and EU countries have been studied by NTUST which has already hired several experts who profoundly understand the EU technology development, academic system and cultural environment of the European Union. NTUST will work with National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) on the coordination of NCP-Taiwan office under the National Science Council. The major scopes of NCP-Taiwan are to closely coordinate with the "European Economic and Trade Office", to promote the "national program" and to provide assistance and support to local outstanding R&D teams and experienced research scholars for joining EU-FP7.

The first exclusive website of NCP-Taiwan will be placed on The information provided on this website will serve as the contact window which provides latest information of EU-FP7 and represents an international community actively assisting academic research units in Taiwan for participating at the EU-FP. In addition, Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is appointed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to promote the "Bridging Taiwan’s Industry and European Innovation via Joint Research under EU-FP7" project. The domestic industries and academia will be supported by these two projects for entering international markets. Through this collaboration between Taiwan and EU, a new model of cooperation of science and technology can be created.

The government of Taiwan has heavily invested in projects on industrial R&D. As the result, the technological capability of Taiwan has been demonstrated to the world. Due to globalization, the cooperation model has become an important issue far beyond national and regional borders. EU also demonstrates noticeable strengths of technology research capability and faster economic growth by integrating research resources and technology experts. The scholars of Taiwan and EU have been cooperating together on few projects so far. Through participating at the EU-FP program, Taiwan and EU can share experiences with each other by collaborating on cross-border science and technological R&D, and thus expand cooperation range and establish a solid partnership in the future.

Having founded the "EU framework program", EU has set up 1262 "NCP of EU-FP " throughout the world since 1984, including mainland China, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other countries outside EU. Amongst all NCP’s, 233 are established according to different R&D areas. All NCP will function as a service center to connect the researchers between regions and the EU, and also explore benefits of complementary integration. The budget of Euro 53.2 billion will be maintained until 2013.

NCP –Taiwan project integrate R&D resources internationally

Academic research has become more and more important over the years in Taiwan. The cooperation between Europe and Taiwan on scientific and technological development has been greatly promoted by the government of Taiwan. Because of that, Taiwan’s science and technology research activities have been effectively connected with those European countries. The partnership between Taiwan and European countries has been reinforced. Since 2003, the R&D team of Taiwan has officially been participating at EU FP5, FP6 and FP7. The results are the 16 projects within the EU-FP, showing remarkable research output. However, the range of FP7 program is wide and huge, including its complex application system and the long review process. The necessity for setting up a service unit is essential, a service unit which can communicate with EU, match up projects and apply for EU-FP7 for industries and universities. With the opening of NCP-Taiwan today, it represents an important millstone in bridging EU’s and Taiwan’s scientific and technological R&D.

Taiwan's first humanoid robot from NTUST

Taiwan's first humanoid robot performer "Janet," which can speak, sing and walk, made its debut at a news conference on Monday.

"Janet" was unveiled ahead of the 11th National University and Technical College Creative Robot Design and Manufacturing Contest organized by the Ministry of Education. The contest will be held Oct. 19 to Oct. 21 at Cheng Shiu University in Kaohsiung County.

Lin Chi-yu (林其禹), a professor at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST), whose researchers developed Janet over two years, said the school plans to create a similar robot -- to be named "Thomas."

Lin said the two robots would be used on a trial basis in performances for disadvantaged groups beginning next summer before making their international debut.

Automaker Honda created ASIMO, the world's most advanced humanoid robot, but ASIMO has no facial features or performance-related functions, Lin said.

The HUBO robot developed by Oh Jun-ho, a professor at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, can display facial expressions, but lacks the capability to stage a show, he said.

"Janet" was developed to have interactive and performing functions, Lin said, adding that the state-of-the-art performing technology was created through the concerted efforts of NTUSC and several Japanese robotics labs.

Seven professors and scores of doctoral and masters degree students at NTUSC took part in Janet's development, Lin said.

He said the hardware needed to build the robot cost NT$10 million (US$307,000).

Lin said the team plans to set up a "Taiwanese robotic theater" in major amusement parks around the world in five year

Wednesday, 24 September, 2008

All India Radio wins CBA-UNESCO award

All India Radio (AIR) won the CBA-UNESCO award for Science Reporting and Programming, for its programme 'The Drop that Counts'. This radio programme is a musical feature for children, who deal with general science of the universe - conservation of water - in a simple style. It was originally produced in Oriya language.

The award was presented to Padmanalochan Das, Programme executive, AIR, at the Commonwealth Broadcasting Awards ceremony held on 25 January 2008 in Nassau, Bahamas. The prize was jointly established by UNESCO and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) two years ago in order to promote science literacy and science communication through media.
It rewards radio and television programmes on science and technology with high production value. The programmes should aim to promote a better public understanding of science and technology as tools for national development. They also should disseminate scientific information in an interesting and engaging manner that would attract the attention of a wide-ranging audience. All India Radio is a national service operated by the Prasar Bharati Broadcasting Corporation of India. If formally began its operations in 1936 with the objective to inform, educate and entertain. AIR today has a network of 229 broadcasting centres and claims that it reaches 99.14% of Indian population.

Monday, 22 September, 2008

Taiwan IT companies to invest in India

Taiwan now looks forward to Indian shores as a market with huge potential for the ICT sector.

Thomas Chang, Director, Taipei World Trade Center announced the growing presence of Taiwan’s top 5 ICT brands in India - Acer, Asustek, BenQ, D-Link and Gigabyte. With the Indian economy surging ahead Taiwanese companies now see India as a market with a huge potential for ICT products. Acer, Asustek, BenQ, D-Link and Gigabyte are some of the top ICT companies that have presence in India. These companies have significantly increased the value of their brands from last year, with Asustek and Acer remaining at the top for the third consecutive year.

“India is a big market for Taiwan after China and Japan. Its enormous potential is evident from the fact that 100 plus Taiwanese companies are already operating in India"

He further added, “Foxconn International Holdings Ltd have started on a plan to build an industrial park in Chennai to produce electronic connectors and components. Foxconn has invested $120 million. This is the largest hi-tech investment so far by a Taiwanese company in India and this is bound to attract some more Taiwan companies to follow in this Indian market”.
As an early participant in the technology revolution, Taiwan has become the world's largest maker of notebook computers, LCD monitors and motherboards. Taiwan also has maintained its domination in the global production share of Wireless LAN, Optical storage devices, Game Consoles, ADSL modems, Network products and Servers. Taiwanese companies are all set to explore the Indian frontiers with an all new mantra ‘Go South - to India’.

According to W.S. Mukund, Managing Director, Acer India, “Taiwan over the years has become a recognised leader in the global IT hardware industry. Acer India has its roots in Taiwan, being global has helped us bring the latest tested technology to the Indian market and establish ourselves quickly as one of the leading IT vendors in India.”

Tamil-Brahmi inscription on pottery found in Thailand

A unique Tamil-Brahmi Inscription on pottery of the second century AD has recently been excavated in Thailand. A Thai-French team of archaeologists, led by Dr. Bérénice Bellina of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France, and Praon Silpanth, Lecturer, Silpakorn University, Thailand, has discovered a sherd of inscribed pottery during their current excavations at Phu Khao Thong in Thailand.

At the request of the archaeologists, Iravatham Mahadevan, an expert in Tamil Epigraphy, has examined the inscription. He has confirmed that the pottery inscription is in Tamil and written in Tamil-Brahmi characters of about the second century AD. Only three letters have survived on the pottery fragment. They read tu Ra o... ,possibly part of the Tamil word turavon meaning`monk.' The presence of the characteristic letter Ra confirms that the language is Tamil and the script is Tamil-Brahmi. It is possible that the inscription recorded the name of a Buddhist monk who travelled to Thailand from Tamil Nadu. This is the earliest Tamil inscription found so far in South East Asia and attests to the maritime contacts of the Tamils with the Far East even in the early centuries AD.

Prof. Richard Salomon of the University of Washington, U.S., an expert in Indian Epigraphy, has made the following comment on the inscription: "I am happy to hear that the inscription in question is in fact Tamil-Brahmi, as I had suspected. This is important, among other reasons, because it presents a parallel with the situation with Indian inscriptions in Egypt and the Red Sea area. There we find both Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions and standard-Brahmi insciptions; and we now see the same in Vietnam and South-East Asia. This indicates that the overseas trade between India to both the West and the East involved people from the Tamil country and also other regions."

Iravatham Mahadevan adds: "Already we know of the existence of a touchstone engraved in Tamil in the Tamil-Brahmi script of about the third or fourth century AD found in Thailand and presently kept in a museum in the ancient port city of Khuan Luk Pat in Southern Thailand. There is every hope that the ongoing excavations of the Thai-French team will bring up more evidence of ancient contacts between India and Thailand."

Friday, 19 September, 2008

Information for Foreigners (IFF)

Taiwan Railway

Taiwan railway systems were constructed in the early years of the Kuang Hsu period of the Ching Dynasty from a request by the Taiwan Governor Liu Ming Chuan 109 years ago. In the 20th year of Guang Shue (1894 A.D. ), the Ching Empire severed Taiwan and the island became a colony of Japan. Used railway materials were dismantled from Japanese domestic lines and shipped to Taiwan to extend various lines to exploit natural resources. Therefore, the loading capacity of bridges along the lines differed from place to place. Railway cars could not continue through the full length of the line.

After the restoration of Taiwan from the war with the Japanese, the railroads in Taiwan were in ruins and there was privation everywhere owing to the bombardment by the allied forces. Furthermore, with the scarcity of materials plus damage by typhoons and floods, the railroads were in serious need of repair. At the time, the Japanese TRA personnel returning to Japan said the Taiwan railway would be paralyzed within six months. This was not far from the truth. Fortunately, the railway personnel from Mainland China with locals overcame all of the obstacles and maintained service on the railway. Later on the railway systems were gradually trimmed and extended according to priorities.

The Taiwan High Speed Rail (traditional Chinese: 台灣高速鐵路, also known as the THSR) is a high-speed rail network that runs along the west coast of Taiwan. It is approximately 335.50 kilometers (208 mi), and runs from Taipei City to Kaohsiung City. It began operation on January 5, 2007. Adopting Japan's Shinkansen technology for the core system, the THSR uses the Taiwan High Speed 700T train.

Taiwan Railway : Ticket Enquiry

Taiwan Railway: Online Ticket Booking

Taiwan Railway: Toll free Hot line

Taiwan High Speed Railway :Online Ticket Booking

Taipei MRT

The Taipei Rapid Transit System (traditional Chinese: 台北大眾捷運系統), also known as the MRT (Metropolitan Rapid Transit). At present, The network includes 76.6km of rail with 67 stations. In addition to the rapid transit system itself, the TRTC operates several public facilities such as the Maokong Gondola, underground shopping malls, parks, and public squares.

The metro system operates from 6 am to midnight daily, with extended services during special events. The trains operate at intervals of 3 to 15 minutes (depending on time of day and network line).

Smoking is forbidden in the entire metro system, eating, drinking, chewing of gum and beetel nuts are forbidden within the yellow line of each station. Through operations are made between the Xindian Line and Danshui Line. In addition, trains from the Zhonghe Line go on to run on the Danshui Line before terminating at Beitou station. Only one train operates on the following shuttle lines: Xinbeitou Branch Line, Xiaonanmen Line, and Xiaobitan Branch Line.

RFID IC Tokens and EasyCard smart cards are used to collect fares for day to day use, with the exception of grouptickets and bicycle access tickets (which use paper tickets). Fares range from NT$20 to NT$65 with most locations accessible for around NT$20-30.

Automated station announcements are recorded in Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka, and English.

Each passenger is allowed access with one bicycle during weekends at certain allocated stations for NTD80.

MRT to Taoyuan International Airport

As per the statement of "Bureu of High Speed Rail", Taiwan "Fast economical development and urbanization in recent years, the travel demands of the Taoyuan Metropolitan area have rapidly increased, and the existing transportation system was unable to meet the need of the populace. In order to prevent the worsen situation in future, and taking into account of the need to link with the High Speed Rail stations in the west corridor of Taiwan, improving the public transportation system and controlling the growth of private transportation as well, the Government therefore plans to construct a comfortable and convenient MRT system. It will promote the whole prosperity and the balanced development of the Taoyuan Metropolitan area."

"The long-term network includes red, blue and green lines. The total length is approximately 48.6km. There are 36 stations. The red line is from Jhongli City to Gueishan, the blue line is from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Longgang, and the green line is from Zhuangjing Road to Danan. The priority line is the section of blue line from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (B1) through the HSR Taoyuan Station District to Jhongli Railway Station(B10), which is approximately 17km long with 11 stations"

China Visa for Foreigners in Taiwan

Taiwan and China agreed Friday (13th June 2008) to expand charter flights and tourism, a step toward ending a 59-year break in transport links and a likely harbinger of further progress in ties between the long-estranged rivals. The pact, signed in Beijing during their first formal talks since 1999, comes one day after Taiwan's representatives said they had reached a consensus with their Chinese counterparts on exchanging permanent representative offices. Such missions would mark a huge step forward in establishing contacts and mutual trust, although Taiwan's chief negotiator, Chiang Ping-kun, emphasized that officials in Taipei still needed to approve the measure.

"There is still a long way to go for normalization of cross-strait economic and trade exchange," Chiang told reporters following the signing of the transport and tourism pacts.

"There are still many issues to be discussed including expanding weekend charter flights into regular charter flights," Chiang said. Taiwan has banned direct scheduled flights ever since the sides split in 1949 amid civil war.

The expansion of charter flights was a key agenda item for the talks that began Thursday. Those flights are now limited to four annual Chinese holidays and are usually packed with Taiwanese residents on the mainland returning home to visit family.

Newly elected Taiwanese President wants to gradually expand the charter schedule and supplement it with regularly scheduled flights by the summer of 2009. His target is to have 1 million Chinese tourists go to Taiwan every year, well above the current level of 80,000. The agreement signed at a state guesthouse in western Beijing on Friday will allow for 36 charter flights to cross the 100-mile-wide (160-kilometer-wide) Taiwan Strait running from Friday to Monday beginning on July 4. Flights will be shared equally between Chinese and Taiwanese airlines, servicing routes between the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiamen and Nanjing and Taiwan's capital, Taipei, and seven other cities on the island.

Flights would be open to anyone carrying valid documents, a change from the past when they were limited to just Taiwanese and Chinese.

China has tightened visa procedures for foreigners from Taiwan. Until early 2000 foreign passport holders were able to apply for a China visa through Taiwan-based travel agencies, which sent the applicant's passport and visa documents to Hong Kong for processing. Once the visa was issued the traveler simply had to change flights in Hong Kong or Macao to travel to China. However, since April 17, foreigners living or traveling in Taiwan need to apply for their China visas in Hong Kong, forcing them to make a costly and often time-consuming stopover.

"Effective from April 17, 2000, visas will not be granted to an applicant currently not in Hong Kong SAR," says a notice issued by the consular department of the Hong Kong branch of the Chinese Foreign Ministry on April 13.