Among the disputed routes China opened to Taiwan this month is M503, a northbound route up the Taiwan Strait, which skirts air space used for Taiwanese military exercises, Singapore's Straits Times reports. The schedule for the flights was in addition to Taiwan's regular airline services which were created to deal with the high demand of air travel especially during the Lunar New Year holiday which is due to start on February.
China's unilateral decision to put the four routes- M503, W121, W122, W123-into operation in early January affected Taiwan's aviation safety and national security and added to challenges between the two sides, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh said Monday in Taipei.
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Taiwan says it was done without its agreement, contravening what the democratic government in Taipei has said was a 2015 deal to first discuss such flight paths.
The official China Daily in Beijing said the flights, operated by China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines, "were obstructed by the Taiwan aviation authority".
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The Civil Aeronautics Administration in Taiwan said that it was never consulted over the flight routes. The People's Republic of China (PRC) claims that the island is a province, while in Taiwan-a territory with its own democratically elected government many eminent politicians have differing views on the island's status and relations with the mainland. Chinese New Year falls on Feb 16. Moreover, of 70 flights had been cancelled by Xiamen Airlines which blamed Taiwan for the hitch and labelling them as heartless.
Alternatively they could choose a Chinese airline or Taiwanese airline that had not been using the new routes, though tickets would be hard to come by, our correspondent added.
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China's move has been viewed in Taiwan as a show of disrespect, one that could heighten the risk of a risky incident and potentially provoke a crisis in the increasingly tense cross-strait relationship. "It's not at all that we said we didn't agree for them to apply", Ho continued.
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