TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China said on Friday Taiwan’s decision not to approve applications of two Chinese airlines for cross-strait flights during the Lunar New Year holidays was an act of ‘revenge’.
Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) has decided to cut 176 extra flights of China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Air to Taiwan during the holidays in response to their use of four flight paths, including the M503 northward route that closely follows the middle line of the Taiwan Strait.
China’s civil aeronautic authority said it condemned the move of the Taiwanese authorities that disregarded the rights of civilians and strained the relations of Taiwanese and Chinese people.
China added that if there would be consequences as result of the refusal to approve flight applications, the Taiwanese government would be to blame.
The Straits Exchange Foundation, a semi-governmental organization in Taiwan, released a statement on Saturday saying it had been explaining the government’s decision to the country's business representatives in China and they were understanding.
The foundation emphasized it would help satisfy the need of Taiwanese people to fly home for the holidays when flight safety was insured.
In addition, the Chinese authorities reiterated earlier sayings that the M503 northward, W121, W122, and W123 flight routes had been approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and that they had not caused any risk of flight safety after being in operation for half a month.
On the other hand, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council responded later that day that Chinese airlines using the controversial flight routes put the life of Taiwanese passengers at risk and that the government could not dismiss such severity.
Lin He-ming (林鶴明), spokesperson for the Presidential Office, also said the president urged Beijing to take ‘make-up’ measures as soon as possible and start negotiations with the Taiwanese authorities, reported the Central News Agency.