Taiwan protests against mainland China’s new flight routes in the Taiwan Strait



Taiwan government has protested against mainland China’s unilateral activation of four air routes over the Taiwan Strait, which seriously impact regional security, stability and aviation safety. Mainland China announced the routes on 4 January without prior consultation with Taiwan.

The government states that the new air route M503 and its three extension routes (W121, W122 and W123) are too close to Taiwan’s Flight Information Region (FIR) and are highly likely to jeopardise aviation safety and security and to interfere with flight services in the Taipei FIR. It maintains Beijing’s expansion of civil aviation routes also violates the negotiation results between the Taipei Airlines Association and the China Air Transport Association in 2015 and intentionally masks a negative political and military agenda in civil aviation terms. Moreover, the government has affirmed the move severely threatens regional peace and stability and is not viewed favourably by the international community.

President Tsai Ing-wen has stressed the actions constitute a military threat and political provocation that impacts regional security and stability. In addition, the President said Beijing should fulfil its regional responsibilities and resume negotiations as soon as possible. ‘We call on the Beijing authorities to treasure our hard-won cross-strait peace and stability and take steps to ease concerns raised by the M503 aviation route,’ President Tsai added.

Furthermore, the Mainland Affairs Council has called the move a ‘reckless action that runs entirely counter to international civil aviation regulations, disregards aviation safety and disrespects Taiwan.’ As ensuring aviation safety and maintaining peace and stability in the region remain the common concern of all parties, Taiwan government has demanded that mainland China puts an end to its use of the above-mentioned air routes and gives priority to restoring technical discussions on the flight paths with Taiwan.