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MELBOURNE, Australia (Oct. 31, 2002 – Radio Australia)---The Northern Marianas government says it will now focus on bringing in more chartered flights from China due to the absence of an open-door policy for Chinese tourists.

The U.S. State Department is yet to decide whether to help the Northern Marianas in its request to secure "approved-destination" status from the Chinese government, which would open the way for hundreds of thousands of Chinese to visit the islands.

Currently, China Southern Air flies twice-weekly chartered flights from Guangzhou to the Northern Marianas island of Tinian. At the same time, the Marianas Visitors Authority has extended its promotion efforts to the northern cities of Beijing and Shanghai and negotiations for direct flights from these cities are ongoing.

Besides Guam, Hawaii and the Northern Marianas, Las Vegas is also seeking an approved-destination status from China.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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