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President pleased at Beijing's plan to open cross-strait transit

2016/01/05 21:42:56

Taipei, Jan. 5 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Tuesday expressed his appreciation of a decision by China to allow its nationals to transit through Taiwan on overseas trips.

Ma believes the development has again demonstrated Beijing's sincerity in honoring the consensus reached during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore last November, according to Presidential Office spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信).

Ma said the peaceful and prosperous status quo across the Taiwan Strait has not come by easily and he hopes his successor will carefully maintain and cherish it, Chen said.

On Tuesday, China's Taiwan Affairs Office announced that Chinese nationals flying from the Chinese cities of Nanchang, Kunming and Chongqing will be allowed to transit through Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport before flying on to third destinations.

It is the third legacy of the Ma-Xi meeting, after the launch of a telephone hotline system connecting the heads of cross-strait affairs on each side of the strait and an increase in the number of technical vocational students from China allowed to study in Taiwan.

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) deputy chief Lin Chu-chia (林祖嘉) said the latest announcement by China has further demonstrated the fruits of the Ma-Xi meeting and also represents Beijing's goodwill.

If the plan is implemented smoothly in the three Chinese cities, the MAC will negotiate with the mainland on the possibility of expanding it to all other Chinese cities, Lin said.

Also Tuesday, Taiwan's two biggest air carriers, China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Airways, both said they welcomed the development.

CAL said allowing Chinese nationals to transit through Taiwan is expected to increase its passenger volume on the European, U.S., Australia and New Zealand routes.

At present, CAL operates three flights per week between Taoyuan and Nanchang, two flights per week between Kaohsiung and Nanchang and two flights per week between Kaohsiung and Chongqing, the company said.

It will become more convenient for people from both sides of the strait to travel to North America and Southeast Asia in the future, it said.

EVA, meanwhile, said it will increase flights between the three Chinese cities and Taoyuan and hopes that the policy will be expanded to other cities so that more passengers can transit through Taiwan's biggest airport.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen, Yin Chun-chieh, Chen Wei-ting and Y.F. Low)
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