Compromise reached over direct flight talks


Sat, Jan 15, 2005 - Page 3

Taiwan's aviation delegation, led by Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) director-general Billy Chang (張國政), is slated to meet with its Chinese counterpart in Macau today to discuss issues regarding cross-strait charter flights during the Lunar New Year holidays.

The Chinese delegation is led by Pu Zhaozhou (蒲照洲), the head of the Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Department of the Civil Aviation Adminstration of China (CAAC). The negotiations are seen as following the model established by the Taiwan-Hong Kong aviation talks that were conducted by the private sector, but directed by official representatives of both sides.

In addition to Chang, the Taiwan delegation consists of CAA official Fang Chi-wen (方志文) and Taipei Airlines Association (TAA) chairman Lo Ta-hsin (樂大信) and Secretary-General Solo Su (蘇賢榮).

Led by Pu, China's delegation also includes three more CAAC officials.

Praising China's practical attitude toward the charter flights, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Chairman Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) yesterday described the Macau talks as "suspending the disputes without precondition."

"We still follow the formula of the Taiwan-Hong Kong aviation. We will put off the dispute, presume no preconditions and respect each other. The government will lead and the private sector will assist," Chiu said yesterday.

Meanwhile, Taiwan will allow Chinese flag-carriers to fly to the country for the first time since 1949 if both sides of the Strait reach an agreement on direct charter flights for next month's Lunar New Year holiday, an official said yesterday.

Air China is the only Chinese airline which carries the national flag.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Ling-san (林陵三) said if an agreement is reached on direct charter flights, the country will accept planes carrying the Chinese flag.

"The national flag will not be a problem, and we don't mind it," Lin told reporters.