Taiwan: China’s new aviation routes in Taiwan Strait irresponsible

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TAIPEI Taiwan's government yesterday called China's recent unilateral expansion of civil aviation routes in the Taiwan Strait an irresponsible act that threatens regional security.

China opened several disputed air routes last week, including a northbound M503 route in the Taiwan Strait, without informing Taiwan, contravening what the government in Taipei said is a 2015 deal to first discuss such flight paths.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, after meeting with ministry heads to assess the situation on Sunday, said the move "not only seriously affects aviation safety but also damages the current situation in the Taiwan Strait".

"This kind of unilateral changing of the situation, this practice that harms regional stability, is not something that will be viewed favourably by the international community," she said in a statement.

Ms Tsai called on Beijing to give priority to restoring technical discussions on the flight paths.

Beijing's move comes as China has pressed ahead with a military modernisation programme and stepped up what it calls "island encirclement patrols" near Taiwan. - REUTERS