The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has rejected a proposal for charter flights between Matsu and the Chinese city of Fuzhou during the Lunar New Year holiday, a Lienchiang County Government official said yesterday.
The county government filed an application with the MAC late last year for direct charter flights between Matsu's Nankan and Peikan airports and Fuzhou's Changlo Airport in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian during the holiday.
MAC turned down the application out of security considerations, the official said.
"The MAC has rejected the project on the grounds that such temporary flight services would only bring limited economic benefits while having a grave impact on the nation's security and defense operations," the official said.
In a written response to the Lienchiang County Government, MAC said the government had conducted an exhaustive assessment on possible security and economic effects before it decided to open direct shipping links between the two front-line islands of Kinmen and Matsu and the Fujian ports of Xiamen and Mawei at the beginning of 2001.
MAC added that the government has adopted risk-control measures and taken other complementary steps while opening the direct Kinmen to Xiamen and Matsu to Mawei shipping links.
Noting that Matsu sits in an important strategic location, MAC said that the island plays a pivotal role in safeguarding Tai-wan's security and that allowing direct charter flights would have a serious impact on the nation's overall defense operations.