US representatives yesterday made comments on Twitter in support of Taiwan regarding China’s unilateral announcement of new flight routes in the Taiwan Strait.
Beijing unilaterally announced the launch of the M503 northbound route on Jan. 4 without consulting Taiwan. The route is only 4.2 nautical miles, or approximately 7.8km, west of the median line of the Taiwan Strait at its closest point.
Three Chinese east-west extension routes also introduced on Jan. 4 — designated W121, W122 and W123 — overlap with Taiwan’s W6, W8 and W2 flight routes, which serve the outlying islands of Matsu and Kinmen, raising aviation safety concerns.
Photo: Chen Yi-chia, Taipei Times
“China’s new flight routes around Taiwan, activated without consulting Taipei, threaten aviation security and the cross-strait status quo,” tweeted US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who previously served as the chairwoman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
“Our admin must lodge a strong complaint with Beijing and the International Civil Aviation Organization, making clear that these unilateral provocations endanger regional stability,” Ros-Lehtinen added.
“China unilaterally expanding air routes near Taiwan without consulting Taiwanese authorities harms the longstanding cross-strait status quo,” US Representative Sheila Jackson Lee tweeted. “Any decision involving activity across the strait should be decided by both countries.”
The nation’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) on Friday expressed “strong regret” over China’s condemnation of Taiwan’s move to put extra cross-strait flights for the Lunar New Year holiday on hold amid a dispute over the controversial M503 route.
In a statement on its official Web site, the Civil Aviation Administration of China condemned Taiwan’s move to delay approval of applications by two China-based airlines to operate extra flights in protest of China’s decision to launch a northbound M503 route.
The M503 route and its extension routes were approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization and entail “no safety concerns,” it said.
It also said Taiwan’s act of “revenge against China” would eventually hurt airlines and people from both sides of the Taiwan Strait — the rights of Taiwanese in particular — and that “the Taiwanese authority should take full responsibility for all the consequences.”
In response, the CAA on Friday night issued a statement titled “If there is no trust and no aviation safety, what’s the point of talking about the rights of Taiwanese business people?”
The CAA urged China to start negotiations with Taiwan as soon as possible, in line with an agreement reached by the two sides in 2015.
The CAA on Thursday said it has put on hold applications by China Eastern and Xiamen Air to fly a total of 176 additional cross-strait flights during the holiday period from Feb. 15 to 20, in response to China’s launch of the M503 route, which Taiwan considers a threat to aviation safety.
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
‘CHINESE CAPITAL’: Fanny Liu was found guilty of reducing the rent of a tenant in exchange for a vote for a KMT Taipei city councilor candidate The Taipei District Court on Wednesday sentenced Fanny Liu (劉樂妍), a former member of the now-disbanded female pop group Fantasy 4, to 10 years in prison for vote-buying. The court found Liu — who is now based in China and has made pro-Chinese Communist Party remarks — guilty of reducing the rent on a Taipei property she owned in exchange for the tenant voting for a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate in the November 2018 nine-in-one local elections. She can appeal the ruling. Liu in December 2018 reportedly lowered the rent by NT$1,000 after the tenant said they had voted for Taipei City
Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease