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China to launch M503 air route on March 29: CAA

China to launch M503 air route on March 29: CAA

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – China will start using its controversial M503 air route over the Taiwan Straits on March 29, Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration said Friday.
The earlier announcement by Beijing of the new route close by the median line between the two countries set off a wave of protestations in Taiwan because of the perceived threat to national security.
If the supposedly civilian route was used by Chinese military aircraft, potential aggression would be far later to spot by Taiwan’s military, critics said. The opposition demanded a halt to all cross-straits negotiations as long as China did not cancel its plans.
In the end, Beijing reportedly agreed to move the central route, known as M503, several kilometers to the west of the median line over the Taiwan Straits. The new route network also includes several feeder lines between the main route and China’s mainland.
The CAA said Friday that China had agreed to postpone its original plan to launch the route until March 29 and to move it six nautical miles to the west, closer to the mainland.
If a flight was seen as veering too close to the Taiwan side, the CAA said it would inform the relevant authorities and safeguard the area’s aviation security.
The military said earlier it was able to monitor all Chinese flight movements in the area without danger to Taiwan’s security, while the Mainland Affairs Council emphasized that M503 was an international civilian route which would not be used by China’s Air Force.


Updated : 2021-09-28 12:21 GMT+08:00