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Home > Press and Media Service > Spokesperson's Remarks
Embassy Spokesperson's letter to the Financial Times on unjustified comments on the M503 air route

Ms. Zeng Rong, Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, recently wrote a letter to the Financial Times about the unjustified comments carried by the newspaper with regard to the M503 air route. The Financial Times published the letter on 31 January 2018, the full text of which is as follows:

Claims by Tony Phillips (Letters, January 18) of Beijing's "disregard for the peaceful status quo in the Taiwan Strait" and "threat" to the norms of civic society are inconsistent with the facts.

Two clarifications: first, Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are one people. The Chinese mainland has rolled out substantial and preferential measures for compatriots in Taiwan -- more than 20 last year alone. Trade across the Strait shot to $199.39bn in 2017, up 11.3 per cent year on year. A total of 5.87m trips were made from Taiwan to the mainland, 2.49 per cent more than the previous year.

Second, the air route Mr. Phillips mentions was designed by China in co-operation with the US and other countries in 2007, and approved and named the M503 route by the International Civil Aviation Organization in the same year. The southbound route of M503 was opened to air traffic in March 2015 and has since been used extensively by airlines from Hong Kong, Macau and Southeast Asian nations as an effective international civil aviation route.

On January 4 the M503 began to serve northbound civilian planes with an average of 27 flights per day. This has practically satisfied the demand for more air routes in Asia-Pacific, relieved the pressure from rapidly increasing flights, increased flight safety and reduced delays. It is apparently in the interests of everyone travelling by air in this region.

In addition, the M503 flight route is along the mainland side of Taiwan Strait and does not serve routes or destinations in Taiwan. Launching part of this already established route is a matter of civil aviation routine. Despite this, the mainland still informed the relevant department in Taiwan out of consideration for the latter's interests. "Unilateral expansion" is therefore a non-issue.

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