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Taiwan: China's unilateral use of the M503 west-east trade route impacts the island's air defenses and "turns the Strait "into a Chinese inland sea"

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The Civil Aviation Administration of China suddenly announced on the evening of the 30th that it would cancel the north-to-south flight offset of the M503 route starting from February 1, and enable the M503 route W122 and W123 to connect from west to east. The M503 route is parallel to the central line of the strait. China's decision means that in the future, the M503 route will no longer fly westward. Flights from Fuzhou and Xiamen in Fujian will no longer detour through the northern route and fly directly from west to east to Taiwan.


Photo: UP Media

China's announcement echoes recent statements by the People's Liberation Army and Taiwan-related departments that "there is no so-called central line of the Strait," and is obviously a concrete move to "turn the Taiwan Strait into an inland sea." The Mainland Affairs Council pointed out that China's move deliberately used civil aviation as an inappropriate attempt to attack Taiwan's politics and even its military, and it may change the status quo across the Taiwan Strait.


The Civil Aviation Administration of China announced on its official website on the 30th that it will cancel the north-to-south flight offset of the M503 route from February 1, and will subsequently enable the W122 and W123 routes connecting the M503 route to fly from west to east. The reason given by the Civil Aviation Administration of China is "to improve the efficiency of airspace operations."


Later, China's Taiwan Affairs Office further pointed out that this move is intended to alleviate the pressure of increased flights in relevant areas to ensure flight safety and reduce flight delays; it will also help improve cross-strait flight operations, further facilitate cross-strait personnel exchanges, and is in the common interests of compatriots on both sides of the strait.


The Civil Aviation Administration of China released a message on the 30th that flight compensation measures on the M503 north-south route will be canceled starting from February 1st. (Taken from the official website of the Civil Aviation Administration of China and provided by the Civil Aviation Administration of the Ministry of Transportation.

In response to China's "raid", the Taiwan Mainland Affairs Council immediately expressed its solemn protest and strong dissatisfaction, calling on China to immediately stop its irresponsible air operations.

The Taiwan Civil Aviation Administration said there was a clear gap between China's measures and the results of communication between the two sides when the route was launched in 2015.


The Mainland Affairs Council also pointed out that after the epidemic, China's international air routes have not yet fully resumed flights, but Beijing pretended that the opening of the affected air routes was to relieve growth pressure of flights in the affected areas; in fact, this decision has never been the subject of cross-Strait communications and is completely disrespectful to Taiwan, the Taiwan Organ added.


The Mainland Affairs Council therefore condemned China's actions not only because they do not take aviation safety into account, but also because they deliberately use civil aviation as an improper attempt to attack Taiwan's policy and even its military, which could change the status quo across the Taiwan Strait.


In January 2015, China unilaterally established a new air route M503 on the western side of the centerline of the Taiwan Strait. The Taiwan government strongly opposed the route because it was too close to the center line of the Taiwan Strait and would reduce the island's air defense alert times.


Subsequently, the then Malaysian government began negotiations with China, and the Taiwan Mainland Affairs Council said it had reached an agreement with Beijing, agreeing to the new M503 route.

However, China also unilaterally announced the launch of the northbound M503 route and related connecting routes in January 2018 without consulting Taiwan.


"We believe that today's action not only directly reduces the alert time of our country's air defense, but is also intended to realize China's goal of promoting "the territorial sea of the Taiwan Strait" by deliberately creating unrest through Narrow,” the Council added.

The Mainland Affairs Council then formally requested Beijing to reverse the decision to operate the relevant sea routes starting February 1. “If China insists on following its own path, it will have to bear all the serious consequences affecting cross-Strait relations,” he concluded.



Source: UP Media

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