Chinese language flights scrapped in Taiwan row

31 January, 2018, 10:34 | Author: Barbara Daniel
  • Taiwan protests China's new air routes over Strait

Moreover, of 70 flights had been cancelled by Xiamen Airlines which blamed Taiwan for the hitch and labelling them as heartless.

"At this time, they said themselves they don't want to apply".

China's unilateral decision to put the four routes- M503, W121, W122, W123-into operation in early January affected Taiwan's aviation safety and national security and added to challenges between the two sides, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh said Monday in Taipei.

China has said there is no safety threat and that the new routes were introduced to help ease congestion in its airspace over the strait.

China Eastern Airlines and XiamenAir have cancelled 176 Taiwan flights scheduled for the Lunar New Year Spring Festival holiday period.

China opened the new air routes this month, including a northbound route up the Taiwan Strait.

Tensions have been growing this month since Beijing started new flight routes in the strait without consulting Taiwan.

In addition, Taiwan's MAC and MOTC emphasized that the fundamental problem was the fact that Beijing had violated the 2015 agreement between the two countries on the use of the controversial flight routes.

China considers Taiwan a wayward province, and relations have cooled dramatically since Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party took office as Taiwan's president in 2016.

The airlines said in separate statements they had no choice but to cancel the trips after what they said was a refusal by Taiwanese authorities to approve the flights.

On Tuesday, two major airline, the Xiamen Airlines and the China East Airlines (CEA) released a statement that they had called for the cancellation of the flights due to the failure of the government in Taiwan to have them approved.

With air fares rising before the Lunar New Year, Taiwan's transportation ministry said it would try its best to help Taiwanese return home over the holiday.

Kinmen and Matsu have both been under Taiwan's control since defeated Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

Alternatively they could choose a Chinese airline or Taiwanese airline that had not been using the new routes, though tickets would be hard to come by, our correspondent added.

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