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Taipei-Beijing talks postponed citing plane crash

Taipei, Feb. 5 (CNA) The head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhang Zhijun (???), was to postpone a meeting with his Taiwanese counterpart in Taiwan-controlled Kinmen that had been scheduled for Saturday in the wake of Wednesday's plane crash in Taipei, both sides said Thursday. Ma Xiaoguang (???), spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said in Beijing that the two parties will keep in touch and announce when a new round of talks when it is scheduled. On the Taiwan side, Mainland Affairs Council spokesperson Wu Mei-hung (???) said in Taipei that both parties need to focus on issues related to the plane crash. The crash occurred when a TransAsia Airways (????) ATR 72 turboprop plane lost altitude, turning on its side and plunging into a river in Taipei shortly after it took off from Taipei Songshan Airport at 10:52 a.m. on Wednesday. The incident killed at least 31 of the 58 people on board, with 12 of them still unaccounted for as of 5 p.m. Thursday, according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration. Wu said among the 31 mainland Chinese passengers on board, 18 were confirmed dead, 3 injured and 10 were still unaccounted for, citing data from the Central Emergency Operation Center.
As for the agenda of the now-canceled meeting, Wu said consultations on controversial flight routes announced by China last month have not seen "positive progress" yet and the topic is still under discussion, another reason to postpone the talks between Zhang and Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (???). Taipei has objected to the new flight routes that run close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait announced by Beijing in January and set to begin operations in early March, calling the routes too close to the median and insisting on negotiations before allowing their use. (By Lawrence Chiu, Ozzy Yin and Kuo Chung-han)

Updated : 2021-09-21 07:36 GMT+08:00