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Fire drills carried out in Taiwan due to invasion risk from China

31 January 2018

It has retaliated by blocking requests to operate 176 additional cross-strait flights by two Chinese airlines during the Lunar New Year.

This month, China opened several new air routes, including a north-bound route up the Taiwan Strait.

In addition, Taiwan's MAC and MOTC emphasized that the fundamental problem was the fact that Beijing had violated the 2015 agreement between the two countries on the use of the controversial flight routes.

Speaking at a regular news briefing, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said there was at least 23 km (14 miles) separating the routes.

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Cheng said three aircraft could be deployed in Kinmen with each capable of delivering 840 passengers to Taiwan daily.

According to their statements, China Eastern's cancellation of its 106 additional flights has affected almost 40,000 travelers, while Xiamen Air's cancellation of 70 flights has affected over 10,000 people. Xiamen Airlines said it will fully refund or help with ticket changes for the more than 10,000 passengers affected by the cancellation of the 70 extra flights.

The airlines said in separate statements they had no choice but to cancel the trips after what they said was a refusal by Taiwanese authorities to approve the flights.

Two major carriers, China Eastern Airlines (CEA) and Xiamen Airlines, said Tuesday that they had called off the flights because Taiwan refused to approve them. "All along we said we hope that the situation can meet the needs of travelers and that we can all discuss an appropriate arrangement for the added flights".

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But Taiwan has objected to the flight paths of special services laid on for the impending Spring Festival (Chinese New Year).

Taiwanese who want to be home for the holidays will probably have to find other options. As a result, the Taiwanese government withheld approval of route applications from the Chinese airlines.

The Global Times, a news outlet frequently used to informally express Beijing's views, echoed Li's sentiments: "The Chinese mainland has never given up the option of Taiwan mainland reunification by force, which is clear to people across the Taiwan Strait", a December editorial reads.

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Fire drills carried out in Taiwan due to invasion risk from China