China airlines cancel Taiwan flights as air space row intensifies

Taiwan protests China's new air routes over Strait

According to Reuters.com, China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines revealed Thursday issues between Beijing and Taiwan over flight routes forced the carriers to cancel the holiday trips after the Taiwanese government refused to approve the journeys.

Both airlines are in the process of reimbursing or rescheduling flights for those who booked tickets with them.

This month China opened several new air routes, including a northbound route up the Taiwan Strait that divides China from the island. Taiwan said it was done without its agreement, contravening what Taipei had said was a 2015 deal to first discuss such flight paths. China Eastern called on Taiwan to "normalize the development of the cross-Straits civil aviation sector as soon as possible".

While not specifying that the drill simulated an invasion by mainland China, the authorities said the exercise was to "show determination to safeguard peace in the Taiwan Strait and national security".

Talks between China and Taiwan have stalled since Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, came to power in 2016.

Dozens killed in fire at Miryang hospital
There were 194 patients in the hospital when the fire first began and all 78 individuals in the seniors' ward were evacuated. Dr Song said the six-storey hospital did not have a sprinkler system and was not large enough to require one under the law.

According to the same Straits Times report, China Eastern is offering refunds and rebookings to the 40,000 passengers on its 106 cancelled flights.

At a press conference yesterday, Taiwanese Transport Minister Hochen Tan said the government did not force the airlines to cancel their flights.

A row between China and Taiwan has flared up over air navigation, leading to the cancellation of 176 flights between the two.

On Monday, Taiwan's Ministry of Transportation and Communications said military aircraft will be used to transport Taiwanese in China home from Kinmen for the Lunar New Year holiday if no consensus is reached on the controversy over the M503 route.

Taiwan, which has served as home to twenty-three million people, is an island off the southern coast of China that has been governed independently from mainland China since 1949. Mr Chen Kuang-chung, a Taiwanese entrepreneur in the Chinese city of Xiamen, said: "Unable to buy an air ticket, I would have to travel by ship from Xiamen to Kinmen before taking a local airline to return to Taipei".

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