U.S. opposes China’s unilateral launch of new flight routes

Washington-The United States is concerned about China's unilateral activation of four aviation routes near the median line of the Taiwan Strait and opposes one-sided actions to alter the status quo across the strait, a senior U.S. policy advisor said Monday.

In a telephone interview with CNA, Brian Hook, senior policy advisor to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, expressed concerns the U.S. has regarding China's announcement made on Jan. 4.

"We are concerned about reports that Beijing has modified the use of civil aviation flight routes in the Taiwan Strait without consulting with Taiwan authorities," Hook said.

China's Civil Aviation Administration announced last Thursday it was opening four new commercial routes in the Taiwan Strait: a northbound path on the M503 route and three east-west extension routes called W121, W122 and W123.

"We oppose these kinds of unilateral actions...by either side to alter the status quo across the strait," said Hook of China's move, which has also been repeatedly condemned by Taiwan.

Noting that the U.S. has a "deep and abiding interest in cross-strait peace and stability," Hook said his government encourages "authorities in Beijing and in Taipei to engage in constructive dialogue."

"Issues related to civil aviation and safety in the strait should be decided through dialogue between both sides," Hook said.

President Tsai Ing-wen (???) also condemned Beijing's move on Tuesday while receiving a delegation of researchers on cross-strait relations.

Tsai said the announcement had not only affected aviation safety but also hurt the stability of the status quo that Taiwan has worked hard to preserve.

Given that the issue is of significance for the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, Tsai expressed her hope that the international community will lend its support in encouraging dialogue across the Taiwan Strait on the matter.

Beijing suspended official communications with Taipei after Tsai took office in May 2016, and they have yet to resume.

Taiwan has called on China to cooperate on issues related to air pollution, international fraud, and most recently aviation management in the Taiwan Strait, but to no avail.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel