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British-Taiwanese APPG co-chairs express dismay over mainland China’s new flight routes

 

The co-chairs of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), Lord Steel of Aikwood and Nigel Evans MP, have issued a joint statement expressing their opposition to mainland China’s activation of four air routes over the Taiwan Strait.

In the statement, the parliamentarians express their dismay over mainland China’s civil aviation authority’s decision to activate the routes without prior consultation with Taiwan. They add that the new northbound M503 route with its three east-west extension routes are very likely to endanger aviation safety and security and to interfere with flight services in Taipei Flight Information Region (FIR).

Affirming the move damages the cross-strait status quo, the parliamentarians explain that Beijing’s expansion of civil aviation routes has violated the consensus reached between Taiwan and China in 2015. ‘Moreover, there is a possibility that a potential risk of military crisis could emerge in the Taiwan Strait, constituting a threat to the peace and security of the East Asia region,’ they added.

The parliamentarians also state mainland China’s move violates both ICAO regulations and international norms, citing Document No. 9426 of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which stipulates flight routes should only be launched following consultations with neighbouring parties. They also urged mainland China to put an end immediately to its use of the air routes and restore negotiations with Taiwan on the flight paths as soon as possible.