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Taiwan Protests China's Unilateral Adjustment Of Flight Routes

07:57 AM Jan 31, 2024 IST | NEWS Desk
taiwan protests china s unilateral adjustment of flight routes
Taiwan Protests China's Unilateral Adjustment Of Flight Routes

Taipei [Taiwan]: Taiwan’s Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) protested China’s unilateral adjustment of flight routes close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday.

In a statement, the CAA said it ‘deeply regretted and strongly protested’ Beijing’s move earlier in the day, when the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced it was cancelling what it called an ‘offset measure’ for the southbound operation of the M503 flight route, which is west of the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

Also in the announcement, the CAAC said it plans to start eastbound operation of routes W122 and W123, which connect Route M503 with Fuzhou and Xiamen cities in Fujian Province.

In response, the CAA said the decision ‘blatantly contradicts a consensus reached between both sides of the Taiwan Strait in 2015.’

In 2015, China unilaterally declared the operation of the M503 route, which is situated in the Shanghai Flight Information Region but very close to the Taipei Flight Information Region, prompting concerns about flight safety and sovereignty in Taiwan.

However, after negotiations with Taiwan, China agreed at the time to move the M503 route six nautical miles to the west of its original path.

As China is now set to shift the air route eastward again, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) also issued a statement late Tuesday, demanding Beijing ‘stop such irresponsible flight operations immediately.’

China’s new flight routes, which are set to come into force on February 1, not only disregard aviation safety and show disrespect for Taiwan, but also appear to be a deliberate attempt to use civil aviation as a cover for political, and possibly military intentions aimed at altering the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, the MAC said.

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