The government has made its stance on China’s unilateral activation of northbound flights on aviation route M503 known to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) personally and via several diplomatic allies, but has yet to receive a response, a government source with knowledge of the matter said.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue, said Beijing was required by ICAO regulations to coordinate with affected parties before launching new routes, but it failed to do so before unilaterally activating northbound flights on M503 and three new extension routes — W121, W122 and W123 — along China’s southeast coast on Thursday last week.
Under Item 4.2.6 of the ICAO’s Air Traffic Services Planning Manual, changes to any route should be made only after it has been coordinated with all parties concerned.
Photo: CNA, courtesy of the Presidential Office
“The ICAO has been made aware of the matter... However, the organization is reluctant to intervene, but we still have to let our stance be known,” the source said, adding that as Taiwan is not a member of the UN agency on civil aviation matters, “our voice can hardly be heard.”
Asked whether the government planned to take further action, the source said that several ICAO member states friendly to Taiwan have spoken out in its favor, but declined to reveal whether he was referring to the US and Japan.
“We have also notified all our representative offices overseas to relay the government’s hope to other nations that their airlines refrain from using the controversial M503 route,” the source added.
Due to Chinese pressure, Taiwan has been excluded from the triennial ICAO assembly, except in 2013, when warmer cross-strait ties under then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) paved way for the nation’s attendance at the conference as a “guest.”
In January 2015, after receiving approval from the ICAO, China announced the activation of the M503 route — which, at its nearest point, is 7.8km from the Taiwan Strait’s median line — and the three extension routes, prompting protests from Taipei.
Following cross-strait negotiations an agreement was reached in March 2015 that China would only operate southbound flights on M503 and put the launch of the three extension routes on hold.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) yesterday told a news conference in Taipei that as the matter pertains to aviation routes, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications was in close contact with the ICAO.
“As a news release issued after a national security meeting chaired by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday stated, the foreign ministry should initiate international campaigns and engage with foreign governments to secure the support of other nations and win the battle for international public opinion,” Lee said. “We will continue with such efforts.”
IN A HURRY: The 199,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine expire on May 31, so the CECC might expand vaccine eligibility, but distribution would begin in a week at the earliest The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines allocated to Taiwan through the COVAX global vaccine-sharing program arrived yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said, adding that, after testing, it would be able to distribute them by Monday next week at the earliest. The 199,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were shipped from Amsterdam on a China Airlines (中華航空) plane and arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 5:21am. After the cargo was examined and release procedures were completed at the airport, the Aviation Police Bureau escorted the vehicles carrying the vaccines to a cold chain storage facility. Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General
HEATED TRAFFIC: As Beijing holds naval drills near Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense said it had a full grasp of the situation and would handle it ‘appropriately’ A Chinese carrier group exercising near Taiwan is part of what are to be regular drills, the Chinese navy said in a statement late on Monday, further escalating tensions between Taipei and Beijing. The group, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, was conducting “routine” drills in the waters around Taiwan, a move to “enhance its capability to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests,” the statement said. “Similar exercises will be conducted regularly,” it said, without elaborating. The statement came after the Ministry of National Defense earlier on Monday issued a statement regarding a rise in the number of incursions by Chinese jets into
AIMED AT TAIWAN? Institute for National Defense and Security Research research fellow Ou Si-fu said chips can be ‘bought off the shelf’ and then used in weapons The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said that chips from Taiwanese semiconductor companies were not making their way into Chinese missiles “to the best of our knowledge.” A report in yesterday’s Washington Post alleged that a Chinese company named Phytium Technology Co (飛騰) used chips made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), along with US software, in advanced Chinese military systems. “TSMC has long placed strict controls on their chips. The export of high-tech products from Taiwan is also highly regulated,” Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said. “According to our understanding, none of the end uses for those products
NO TIME: The driver tried to apply the brakes when he saw the truck, but the train did not have time to come to a full stop, an investigation report said The crane truck that caused last week’s fatal train accident had slid onto the tracks about one-and-a-half minutes before it was struck, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. The board had launched an investigation into the derailment, which killed 50 people and injured 211 people, making it the nation’s most devastating railway accident in decades. Carrying 494 passengers and four Taiwan Railways Administration personnel, the southbound express train to Taitung hit the truck as it was about to enter the Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The train derailed following the collision, with the left side of the eighth