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Foreign Minister urges all travelers to check passports before overseas tours

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) urged Taiwanese nationals who wish to travel abroad during the upcoming Lunar New Year vacations to check their passport validity.

Speaking during a short film posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) website over the past weekend, Minister Lin said that currently a total of 135 countries or territories have granted visa-waiver or landing visa privilege to R.O.C. passport holders.

He reminded travelers that their passports must have six or more months before expiration, or they may be denied entry by foreign countries during their overseas visits.

In case of emergency during their tours, Lin said Taiwanese nationals can ask for assistance from Taiwan's representative offices in their travel destinations or ask their family in Taiwan to call a toll-free 24/7 hotline at 0800-085-095 to reach MOFA's headquarters in Taipei.

The short film is also meant to greet nationals and wish them the best ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday that will kick off later this month.

During the film, Lin named several major achievements MOFA has accomplished over the past year, including the resumption of long-suspended Taiwan-U.S. bilateral trade talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in March, 2013 and the signing of a historic Taiwan-Japan fishery pact on April, 2013 to expand the size of existing fishing grounds for local fishermen in the East China Sea.

On the economic front, Taiwan and two major trade partners, New Zealand and Singapore, have signed economic cooperation agreements in 2013.

The country was also, for the first time, invited by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to participate in the 38th ICAO Assembly last year, the minister added.

He attributed these accomplishments to the support shown by Taiwanese nationals and he pledged that the ministry will continue to work and fight for a brighter future for the country.

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