A National Security Bureau (NSB) official said yesterday that China's proposal for a new flight path next month would be a threat to national security as it is so close to the median of the Taiwan Strait.
"The route is 4.2 nautical miles [7.8km] west of the median of the strait and the operation of the route would impact upon the security of the strait," NSB chief Shi Hwei-yow (許惠祐) told a meeting of the legislature's National Defense Committee yesterday.
Minister of National Defense Lee Tien-yu (李天羽) told the same meeting that China had not yet officially announced the new route and that the ministry was preparing to deal with any developments.
Shi said the Chinese civil aviation authority had announced the new route on its Web site and because of its proximity to the median, he was concerned it would impact on the nation's military security as well as its aviation security.
He said the Civil Aeronautics Administration had communicated with its Chinese counterpart on the matter and that China had agreed to temporarily delay the official announcement of the new route.
Lee said that respecting the median had helped to restrain both sides, although Chinese aircraft had crossed it in the past to avoid stormy weather.
Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Liao Pen-yen (廖本煙) held a press conference to criticize China's planned new flight path.
He urged opposition legislators and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to oppose the route.
"They should ask China to change its mind," the legislator said.
He said Chinese planes could be over Taiwan within four minutes if they deviated from the route and that the military would be unable to respond if China used the route for a military attack on the nation.
Liao said the Chinese action was a provocation and would destabilize the cross-strait situation.
Liao's criticism echoed that of Vice President Annette Lu (
Lu said that China, via Hong Kong's aviation authorities, announced the new flight path on Nov. 26, and that the new route had been endorsed by China's Central Military Commission on Dec. 5.
The air force's two bombing practice areas in the strait would be cut and its training capacity reduced, she said in Taipei while campaigning for a DPP legislative election candidate.
"The move is apparently another territorial claim by China," Lu said, adding that the chances of a clash between the two sides would increase.
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