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China's unilateral new flight routes 'destabilizing': President Tsai

2018/01/05 13:05:51

Taipei, Jan. 5 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) called on China to uphold the status quo across the Taiwan Strait in a post to Twitter on Friday, in which she said the mainland's recent unilateral actions are destabilizing and should be avoided.

Tsai's tweet came a day after the Civil Aviation Administration of China unilaterally announced that it was opening the M503 and other connecting routes to northbound commercial flights, a move that drew strong opposition from Taiwan.

The M503, which is close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait, was first opened in 2015 to southbound commercial traffic following consultations with Taiwan.

In her post, Tsai said that China's recent actions, "including M503 flight routes and increased military exercises," are destabilizing to cross-strait relations and undermine regional stability.

She finished her tweet with a pledge that Taiwan will continue to uphold the status quo across the Taiwan Strait and urged "all parties to do the same."

An unnamed U.S. State Department official expressed similar sentiments on Thursday, telling CNA that "we oppose unilateral actions by either side to alter the status quo ... and encourage authorities in Beijing and Taipei to engage in constructive dialogue, on the basis of dignity and respect."

On the M503 flight route issue, the official said the U.S. was concerned "about reports that Beijing has modified the use of civil aviation flight routes in the Taiwan Strait without consultation with Taiwan authorities," asking that issues of civil aviation and safety instead be "decided through dialogue between both sides."

During a press conference on Thursday, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh (張小月) called on China to immediately stop all flights on the routes and to hold talks with Taiwan's aviation authorities.

(By Leaf Chiang, Yeh Su-ping and Kuan-lin Liu)
Enditem/AW