Lawmakers across party lines yesterday denounced China’s unilateral decision to launch four air routes close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait, saying that the move blithely disregarded aviation safety and would not help to promote peace across the Taiwan Strait.
“China, as a superpower, should at least try to be civilized in its actions and show a basic level of respect for international rules,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) said.
“The launch of any air route cannot be unilaterally decided by one nation, let alone in the Taiwan Strait, where traffic is extremely busy,” Wang said.
China’s launch of the northbound M503 route, which passes just 7.8km west of the median line, would definitely shorten the response time the air force has during an emergency, escalating tensions, he said.
Wang called on the authorities to inform the International Civil Aviation Organization and urged aircraft operators not to use the routes due to the danger they pose.
The administration of former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in 2015 reached an agreement with Beijing to allow only southbound flights on M503, but the agreement has had serious repercussions, as evidenced by China imposing on Taiwan its decision to launch four more routes, he said.
This demonstrates that it is useless to sign agreements with China, because Beijing tears them up on a whim, he added.
The incident is not just a cross-strait issue, but an international one, because China could arbitrarily decide to launch an air route elsewhere in the world, Wang said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said that China’s abrupt move does not help to further cross-strait relations, as the launch of the air routes suggests hostility.
Relevant agencies should inform international civil aviation regulators of the risks accompanying the routes — such as their proximity to two existing routes — and advocate against their use, as accidents are the last thing anybody wants, he added.
“It was simply outrageous and a blatant challenge to the nation’s sovereignty,” New Power Party (NPP) Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said.
China was not so blatant when it delineated an air route during Ma’s term, Huang said, adding that the NPP condemns the move in the strongest possible terms and believes that relevant agencies should file a stern protest with Beijing.
People First Party caucus whip Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said that while China’s move was undoubtedly reproachable, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should establish a communication channel with Beijing, as the “status quo” cannot be improved with “all reprehension and no communication.”
SECRET OUT: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung yesterday accidentally revealed that the infections occurred at the ministry’s Taoyuan General Hospital The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported the fifth COVID-19 case in a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital, where four other medical workers were confirmed to have been infected over the past week. The latest case is a nurse who had tested negative on Tuesday last week, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, told a news conference. However, on Thursday, she developed symptoms, such as nasal congestion and a cough, and a second test yesterday found that she was infected, Chen said. She is the head nurse of a ward where two
VIGILANCE: While two of the cases are family members of a nurse, there is no sign of community spread and the source of infection is identifiable, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four new domestic COVID-19 cases associated with a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital. Since the first case was identified on Tuesday last week, five healthcare workers — two doctors and three nurses — at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taoyuan General Hospital have tested positive for the virus. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that two of the four new cases are the husband and daughter of a nurse (case No. 863) who had earlier been confirmed to have COVID-19. The husband (case No. 864)
Don Quijote, the biggest discount store in Japan, is opening its first store in Taiwan today. The three-story Don Don Donki store in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area, which operates 24 hours a day, has already created 400 jobs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said in a press release. Many Taiwanese, including Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), consider a trip to Don Quijote an essential stop in Japan. “I have been to Don Quijote at least 10 times myself,” Huang said yesterday at a news conference announcing the store’s opening. “They are rendering an important service, because we cannot travel
‘CONTAINED’: The CECC is not considering locking down the hospital where the infections were detected, as their source has been found, Chen Shih-chung said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported one new domestic COVID-19 case, a doctor at a hospital in northern Taiwan where three other medical workers were confirmed to have the disease over the past week. The new case — No. 856 — is a doctor who had treated a COVID-19 patient together with case No. 838, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. Case No. 838, confirmed as a locally infected COVID-19 case on Tuesday, was the first case in the hospital cluster, and later infected his partner, who is a nurse at the same