Back to list

No abnormal movements detected after China launches M503 route

2015/03/29 14:50

Taipei, March 29 (CNA) The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan's ministry in charge of China policies, has not detected any abnormal movements on Sunday after China launched a new commercial flight route that is close to Taiwan's airspace.

MAC officials said they will continue to monitor the new route known as M503 and take appropriate measures to protect Taiwan's national security after China launched the new flight route over the Taiwan Strait earlier in the day.

Several carriers, including Dragonair (港龍航空), a unit of Hong Kong's prominent carrier Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., and Malaysia Airlines (馬來西亞航空), on Sunday began flights along the new north-south commercial flight route that is close to an imaginary median line over the Taiwan Strait dividing Chinese and Taiwanese airspace.

Taiwan's aviation authorities and other agencies had initially opposed the Chinese plans for new commercial airline routes, which included the M503 and three east-west routes, saying the new routes were too close to Taiwan and could pose safety risks for Taiwanese commercial flights.

However, after recent consultations between Taiwan and China, Taiwan's government said Beijing had agreed to cancel its plans for the east-west routes and move the proposed north-south path further westwards and closer to China.

Chinese authorities have asked for Taiwan's understanding, saying the new route is needed to alleviate traffic congestion created by strong demand for air travel in coastal Chinese regions.

National Security Bureau Director-General Lee Shying-jow (李翔宙) said in a report to the Legislature March 26 that the new commercial flight route, now closer to China than originally planned, will leave Taiwan with considerable leeway to react to any air attacks and will reduce China's own patrol areas for Chinese fighter jets in the Taiwan Strait.

(By Chou Yi-lin and Jeffrey Wu)ENDITEM/JR