Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday suggested that Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) call off a scheduled meeting with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) to protest against China’s unilateral plan to open new air routes near Taiwan’s airspace.
Wang told the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee that he would meet with Zhang in the first half of next month in Kinmen, the third meeting between the two men, following Wang’s landmark trip to Nanjing in February last year, and Zhang’s return visit to Taiwan the following June, both last year.
DPP legislators, including Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋), told Wang that the meeting should be canceled after they learned from Wang that China has not yet responded positively to the protest registered by the government and the legislature against the air routes — M503, W121, W122 and W123 — that it unilaterally set up and plans to open on March 5.
Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times
Wang disagreed, saying that he would take up the issue with Zhang over public concerns relating to the proposed air routes, as evidenced by the resolution passed by the legislature on Friday last week.
According to the Civil Aeronautics Administration, the M503 route runs nearly parallel to the median line in the Taiwan Strait, coming as close to it as 7.8km, with the other three routes running east-west and serving as feeder routes for the M503, with W122 and W123 potentially affecting flights to Matsu and Kinmen.
The routes declared by China on Jan. 12 drew the ire of Taiwan, prompting it to agree to move the M503 route westward by 7.4km.
China considered the revised route a showing of “goodwill” to Taiwan after suspicions arose about the original M503 route, but “we have insisted that it should not open new air routes without our consent,” Wang told the committee.
Before government agencies are able to determine whether the revised route would compromise aviation safety and there is a consensus reached in Taiwan, China should continue to negotiate with Taiwan, Wang said.
Wang said that China last year discussed with Taiwan about the original M503 route at two working-level meetings on Dec. 22 and Dec. 29, but it did not mention its plan to open the other three feeder routes.
China went ahead and declared the opening of four routes after informing Taiwan of the date even though Taiwan had made it clear to China that “its unilateral move was not acceptable” and “would hurt cross-strait relations,” Wang said.
Meanwhile, Wang told lawmakers that China has proposed that to conserve fuel and shorten flights times, both sides should establish routes directly across the Taiwan Strait, as opposed to the current procedure by which flights must enter the Hong Kong air control area before moving into or out of Chinese or Taiwanese airspace for security reasons.
China has linked the proposal to Taiwan’s agenda that China allows its tourists to make transit stops in Taiwan en route to a third destination, Wang said.
“For security reasons, we would not even consider the possibility,” he added.
Wang said that issues up for discussion at the Kinmen meeting include how to resolve the problem of Kinmen beaches being polluted by rubbish drifting from China, Chinese mining boats engaging in illegally dredging sea sand and fishing ships poaching in waters off Kinmen, as well as measures to boost tourism in Kinmen.
Taiwanese have donated more than NT$10 million (US$329,946) to fight the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, following an appeal for help by a Yilan-based Italian priest to save his “other homeland.” Catholic Father Giuseppe Didone on Wednesday issued a public letter asking for donations to be made to the fundraising center of Camillian Saint Mary’s Hospital Luodong to purchase emergency provisions, including surgical masks and protective gowns, for medical personnel in Italy. Didone yesterday expressed his gratitude and said that he was touched by the love shown by Taiwanese. While state-funded hospitals in Italy are mostly adequately supplied, many local clinics are suffering from
MISCONCEPTION: Cats can injure themselves if they fall from a high place, despite being able to right themselves, an advocate said, urging owners to secure their windows Injuries from falls and poisoning are common among domesticated cats, two animal welfare advocates said, urging cat owners to pay attention to the safety of their pets. “Placing netting over metal window grates is a common and important measure to protect cats from falling,” said one of the advocates, who used the alias “Cuddy.” Some owners let their cats roam outdoors, but doing so could be dangerous for the animals, said the other advocate, who used the alias “Mark.” As cats love high places and have hunting instincts, they can easily endanger themselves when trying to pounce on birds or bats from a
‘TAIWAN IDENTITY’ The outbreak in China occurred as Taiwan was promoting its own national character, which is fundamentally changing cross-strait exchanges China’s initial cover-up of the COVID-19 outbreak has further deepened the distrust between Taipei and Beijing, dealing an irreparable blow to cross-strait exchanges, analysts said. Since March 2018, when a US-China trade dispute began to unfold, decoupling from China has become a worldwide trend, which has been reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chien Hsin University of Science and Technology professor Yen Chien-fa (顏建發) said on Friday. Taiwan started distancing itself from China before the rest of the world with its New Southbound Policy and deepening its ties with like-minded nations, he said. Yen said that he does not believe that anyone would buy
‘USE ECONOMICALLY’: People can use rice cookers to sterilize masks and reuse them three to five times, the FDA director-general said, reminding people not to use water People should not waste masks even with the purchasing quotas increasing this week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, adding that sterilization with a rice cooker is a good way to extend supplies. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from Thursday, people can buy nine masks per 14 days, which should be sufficient. “However, I have to urge everyone to use masks economically,” Chen said, adding that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released information on how masks can be reused. FDA Director-General Wu Shou-mei (吳秀梅) said that masks can be put