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Chinese travelers make first transit stop in Taiwan

Two Chinese passengers arrived in Taiwan Monday morning en route to Thailand, making history as the first ever Chinese air travelers to make a transit stop in Taiwan.

The two passengers arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at around 10:20 a.m. on China Eastern Airlines Flight MU2047 from Nanchang and departed on China Airlines Flight CI835 to Bangkok, Thailand at 1:55 p.m.

They were among eight Chinese travelers scheduled to make transit stops in Taiwan on Monday, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Hsia Li-yan said.

The other six passengers were expected to arrive from the Chinese cities of Chongqing and Kunming later in the day.

Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) confirmed that it was the start of a new policy by China to allow its nationals flying from Nanchang, Kunming and Chongqing to transit through Taiwan en route to a third destination.

SEF Vice Chairman Chou Jih-shine said the SEF had confirmed the information with China on Monday, but said Beijing would not make an official announcement until Tuesday.

Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office announced the new policy on Jan. 5, but did not say when it would take effect. Sources in Taiwan's tourism industry, however, disclosed Sunday that the first group of in-transit air travelers from China would arrive in Taiwan the next day.

Mainland Affairs Council Minister Hsia Li-yan said he hoped China would maintain the policy and expand it to other Chinese cities.

Three of the other six Chinese passengers expected to transit though Taiwan on Monday were scheduled to arrive at 3:45 p.m. at the Taoyuan airport from Chongqing en route to Bangkok, while three were scheduled to arrive at 6:10 p.m. from Kunming to take a connecting flight to Los Angeles.

Since 2014, Taiwan and China had been formally discussing the issue of allowing Chinese passengers to transit through Taiwan, with Taipei repeatedly pushing for removal of the relevant restrictions, which it said were hurting Taiwanese airlines.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou raised the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting in Singapore last November and expressed the hope that it would be expedited, the SEF said in a statement Monday.

The new opening is expected to benefit the aviation industry in both Taiwan and China, according to the SEF.

Until now, while Taiwanese travelers often make transit stops in Shanghai and other Chinese cities en route to a third country, the Chinese authorities did not allow their nationals to transit in Taiwan.


Updated : 2021-06-13 17:24 GMT+08:00