The Chinese mainland denied setting a cap on the number of tourists that can visit Taiwan on Wednesday, instead pointing to market behavior as the reason for a recent change.
Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said at the regular press conference Wednesday that the quota for tourists was made by Taiwan and is a unilateral approach. Taiwan-bound tourists from the mainland vary depending on travel agencies and tourists.
Ma made the remarks when answering a question on whether the Chinese mainland will tighten the quota of tourists to Taiwan.
Ma said he hoped Taiwan's inbound tourism can be developed and rights of mainland tourists safeguarded.
In terms of the flight transfer programs, Ma said the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) are coordinating on the issue and will implement it when it is prepared.
Flight transfers through Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport will be the first limited flights to or from the cities of Nanchang, Kunming and Chongqing. The three cities are popular outbound tourist departure cities in central and western China.
The flight transfer is a result of the meeting between President Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou, two leaders from the mainland and Taiwan, in early November.
"Whether more cities will be allowed to operate transfer flights will depend on the pilot program and the development of the cross-Strait situation," Ma Xiaoguang added.
When commenting on the fight between internet commentators in the mainland and Taiwan on Facebook, Ma said young people from both sides should strengthen exchanges in order to develop a better understanding of cross-Strait relations and tighten their national sentiment.
Tens of thousands of mainland web users bombarded the official Facebook page of Taiwan leader-elect Tsai Ing-wen with anti-independence messages, though the page cannot be accessed on the Chinese mainland.
Tsai, the candidate for the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), won the recent four-year election earlier this month, beating rival Kuomintang candidate Eric Chu.