The Mainland Affairs Council issued a strong protest Jan. 4 over the unilateral inauguration by Beijing earlier the same day of four flight routes over the Taiwan Strait, calling the act reckless and disrespectful of Taiwan and international aviation guidelines. [restrict]
During a news conference in Taipei City, MAC Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh urged mainland China to immediately cease all flight activities involving the routes and initiate cross-strait negotiations to ensure aviation safety in the region.
According to Chang, Beijing’s move violates negotiation results achieved between the two sides in March 2015, masks negative political and military intentions toward Taiwan and could change the cross-strait status quo. The government takes the matter seriously, she said, adding that if Beijing persists in the matter, it will be responsible for the consequences.
The Ministries of National Defense and Transportation and Communications also issued statements the same day reaffirming the government’s stance.
According to the MOTC, the four flight routes comprise one that approaches the line separating the two sides and three east-west routes that might interfere with services between Taiwan proper and the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu.
Mainland China made a unilateral decision in January 2015 to create the four routes. After five rounds of meetings, Taipei and Beijing reached an understanding in March the same year that Beijing would inaugurate only the southbound segment of one route, that aircraft using the route would fly 6 nautical miles west of the original path and that the other three routes would not be launched without confirmation by both sides.
The MOTC called on Beijing to abide by the understanding and return to the negotiation table as soon as possible so as to resolve the matter in a satisfactory matter.
The MND said it has enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations in the region, and will take proper measures to warn, intercept and evict aircraft that trespass across the dividing line of the Taiwan Strait. (SFC-E) [/restrict]