Sat, Mar 21, 2015 - Page 1 News List

TSU slams ‘soft’ flight path discussions

NEGOTIATIONS:The TSU said that what the KMT termed as a ‘peaceful development’ in talks over the M503 flight route showed that it cannot stop China

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lai Cheng-chang, center, criticizes the government at a press conference in Taipei yesterday after China announced it would officially inaugurate the M503 air route on March 29.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday criticized the government after China announced that it would officially inaugurate the M503 flight route despite protests from Taiwan, saying that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “peaceful development in cross-strait relations” was at the cost of Taiwan’s security.

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) yesterday confirmed that Taiwan has been informed by China that the latter plans to publish a Notice to Airmen regarding the M503 flight route, which runs close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait, and will begin allowing commercial flights on March 29.

Condemning China’s decision, TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) yesterday also panned Ma over the government’s soft stance when dealing with threats from China.

“It is not news that China cannot keep its word — facing protests from Taiwan, it first said it would postpone the plan, then it said it would evaluate the route with a trial and now it is going to inaugurate it anyway,” Huang told a news conference at the party’s headquarters in Taipei. “Ma’s administration apparently cannot do anything to stop China. In fact, its so-called ‘cross-strait communication’ is nothing more than making concessions and allowing China to do whatever it desires.”

“The ‘peaceful development in cross-strait relations’ that Ma is so proud of actually comes at the cost of Taiwan’s national security, interests and dignity,” Huang added, calling on the government to halt the planned meeting between Hsia and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍).

Responding to criticism from the TSU, MAC Economic Affairs Department Director Lee Li-jane (李麗珍) said the government is closely monitoring activity along the flight route and is confident that it will be able to maintain national security.

Meanwhile, People First Party Legislator Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) said on Facebook that she has no confidence at all in the government.

“The MAC told us [on Thursday] that it would try to negotiate the issue with its Chinese counterpart in the Hsia-Zhang meeting, and yet, China immediately announced that it would formally inaugurate the flight route — it is quite a slap in the face,” Chen said. “How can we expect anything from negotiators representing such a government?”

In response to criticism by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Chieh-ju (陳節如) during a question-and-answer session at the legislature, Hsia yesterday said that the MAC would accept China’s decision for the sake of positive cross-strait relations, and reiterated that the route would not threaten Taiwan’s national security.

Additional reporting by CNA

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