China Eastern Cancels Holiday Flights Amid Dispute With Taiwan

China Eastern Cancels Holiday Flights Amid Dispute With Taiwan

China Eastern Cancels Holiday Flights Amid Dispute With Taiwan

This has disrupted the plans for thousands of travelers ahead of a key period for travelling in the region; the Lunar New Year Holiday.

China rebuffed Taiwan's objections in a deepening row over the opening of new flight paths in the Taiwan Strait, saying on Wednesday that the space separating routes over the waterway was more than is mandated by global standards.

In its statement, China Eastern expressed disapproval of the Taiwan government's decision to withhold approval, and said many experts had been consulted and found no existing safety issues with the new routes.

While not specifying that the drill simulated an invasion by mainland China, the authorities said the exercise was to "show determination to safeguard peace in the Taiwan Strait and national security".

China has criticized rival Taiwan over the cancellation of flights during the Lunar New Year holiday in response to a dispute over a new air route.

Earlier this month, a statement was released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China indicating that it was opening four new routes to reduce pressure on the current air traffic over the Taiwan airspace.

A US-made AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter launches flares during the annual Taiwanese drill which comes amid a new row with China over flight routes in the strait
Taiwan mounts live-fire drills to test defences against invasion

Tensions have been growing this month since Beijing started new flight routes in the strait without consulting Taiwan.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last month warned against what she called Beijing's "military expansion" - the increase in Chinese air and naval drills around Taiwan since she came to power in May 2016.

In addition, Taiwan's MAC and MOTC emphasized that the fundamental problem was the fact that Beijing had violated the 2015 agreement between the two countries on the use of the controversial flight routes. Then direct flights were permitted, and they continue across the Taiwan Straits today. "All along we said we hope that the situation can meet the needs of travellers and that we can all discuss an appropriate arrangement for the added flights", Ho said.

Kinmen and Matsu have both been under Taiwan's control since defeated Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

A battle between two Chinese airlines and the Taiwanese government has forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights during the busy Lunar New Year.

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