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June 29, 2017

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Chinese spouses to get IDs in four years: Ma

TAIPEI -- President Ma Ying-jeou pledged Saturday to shorten the duration of time mainland Chinese spouses of Taiwanese nationals have to wait to obtain IDs to four years, from six years at present.

The president said he cut the waiting period from eight to six years for mainland spouses four years ago and promised that the government will further reduce the waiting period to four years in line with other foreign spouses.

"This will enable mainland spouses to get more protection," Ma said at a ceremony honoring 25 model new immigrant families.

There are more than 468,000 foreign spouses in Taiwan, including those from the mainland, Ma said, citing Ministry of the Interior statistics.

He noted that the government adopted many policies four years ago to ease restrictions on foreign spouses and mainland spouses, including on their ability to work in Taiwan.

"They can now work after getting married without having to wait to obtain an ID card," he said.

He noted that taking care of new immigrants has become an important priority for the nation.

He also told the new immigrants that "this is your new home" and asked them to contribute to it to build a better future for everybody.

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which does not share the president's enthusiasm for opening Taiwan's doors to China, said Ma needed to explain to the public why Chinese spouses should be given the same treatment as other foreign spouses of Taiwanese nationals.

DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien said there were valid reasons for severely restricting the ability of Chinese spouses of Taiwanese nationals to get IDs.

"If President Ma wants to cut the waiting period of mainland Chinese spouses to get IDs shorter, he should explain to the public how the original basis for the more restrictive regulations has changed," he said.

Lin contended that related issues should be left to the Legislature and society to decide rather than be decided unilaterally by the president.

Asked about the DPP's stance on the issue, Lin said he has yet to know the exact ideas of the president and noted that the party will need to learn more about them and further study the issue.

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