Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday criticized Beijing's decision to stop issuing permits for individual Chinese tourists to travel to Taiwan, calling the move a "strategic mistake."

China for its part justified the ban, which came into effect Thursday, accusing Tsai's ruling party of worsening relations across the strait.

Saying tourism should not be used as a political tool, Tsai told a press conference at the Presidential Office that any tourism activity that is politicized is not sustainable.

"China's decision is a strategic mistake," Tsai said. "I want Beijing authorities to realize that when they use tourism as a political tool, they will only make the people on Taiwan feel disgusted."

Tsai, who is seeking re-election in January, said she has asked her government to prepare for any similar moves by Beijing in the run-up to the elections.

Later in the day, the Mainland Affairs Council, which handles Taiwan's relations with China, reiterated its position that China broke a bilateral agreement that allows personal trips.

Council spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng denounced Beijing's decision for interrupting the normal exchanges between people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait for political reasons.

Also Thursday, China's agency responsible for ties with self-governing Taiwan accused Tsai's independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party of promoting independence activities, inciting "hostility towards the mainland," and provoking antagonism between China and Taiwan.

"I believe that compatriots on both sides of the strait hope that the relationship can get back on the track of peaceful development as soon as possible," said Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang.

Ma added that travel of individual tourists to Taiwan "could resume under a normal and healthy situation."

China's Culture and Tourism Ministry announced the suspension on Wednesday, citing the current state of relations with the self-governed island. It affects residents of 47 mainland cities including metropolises such as Beijing and Shanghai.

Chinese individuals making solo visits for the purpose of business, education or family reunions as well as tourist groups are not affected.

It is the first time China officially announced a tourism ban to Taiwan since Tsai took office in May 2016. Beijing, which regards the island as a renegade province awaiting reunification, has in the past banned Chinese tourist groups from visiting the island, but it never publicly admitted it.

Seeking to offset a significant slump in tourists from mainland China, Tsai has been pushing a so-called "New Southbound Policy," that covers the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand.

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China to suspend personal travels to Taiwan from Thursday