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Date Important Events

Feb 13, 2018

  1. The MAC issued news reference material entitled "Taiwanese People in the Mainland Continue to Smoothly Return to Taiwan; the SEF Continues to Provide Necessary Service." It solemnly clarified that some recent media reports claiming that Taiwanese people in the Mainland have been unable to book return flights to Taiwan and assertions by certain individuals that Taiwanese students have had difficulty in returning to Taiwan are untrue. It also presented a four-point statement.
  2. The SEF issued a press release entitled, "Taiwan Students in Mainland China Protest Over Inability to Buy Plane Tickets back to Taiwan? SEF: Not Consistent with the Actual Situation."
  3. The Civil Aeronautics Administration of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) issued a press release entitled, "Seats Still Available on Cross-Strait Lunar New Year Flights: Help Available to Taiwanese Students from the SEF."

Feb. 7, 2018

The MAC issued the "M503 and Three W Flight Routes FAQ"

Feb. 6, 2018

The MAC issued news reference material entitled, "The Government Welcomes the Return of Taiwanese Businesspeople and Asks Persons Encountering Difficulties to Contact the SEF Service Hotline." It presented a five-point statement regarding the advertisement, "I Want to Go Home," taken out by a president of the Taiwanese Businessmen's Association. 

Feb. 1, 2018

The SEF issued a "Statement on the Inconvenience Caused for Taiwanese Businesspeople by the Cancellation of Expanded Flight Service during the Lunar New Year Holiday by Mainland China's China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines." It called on Taiwanese businesspeople and the public in Taiwan to understand the government's position. It also stated that the SEF will do its utmost to help Taiwanese businesspeople return home for the Lunar New Year holiday. 

Jan. 31, 2018

The SEF reminded Taiwanese businesspeople to promptly arrange Lunar New Year flights in response to transportation facilitation adjustments. It also provided the SEF Taiwan Businesspeople Service Hotline number: (02) 2533 7995.

Jan. 30, 2018

Mainland China's Xiamen Airlines and China Eastern Airlines issued statements announcing their cancellation of applications to provide, respectively, 70 and 106 additional cross-Strait flights during the Lunar New Year holiday, totaling 176 flights.

Jan. 29, 2018

The MAC convened a year-end press conference and issued a press release entitled "Flight Safety and National Security Cannot be Compromised: Mainland China should Value Public Opinion in Taiwan and Promptly Hold Consultations with Taiwan to Resolve Cross-Strait Disputes." It expressed hope that the M503 incident can awaken all parties to the importance of addressing and resolving issues related to cross-Strait relations and then build consensus and take action to bring this incident to a successful close. It also presented a four-point statement: (1) Resolution of the M503-related route issue concerns the two sides of the Strait and transcends political party lines; (2) Cross-Strait civil aviation negotiations do not involve political preconditions; (3) Flight safety and national security allow no compromise and all sides should stand together; and (4) Calling on the other side to promptly consult and work with Taiwan to resolve the dispute. 

Jan. 29, 2018

At a press conference on facilitating transportation during the Lunar New Year holiday, Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) Deputy Minister Wang Kwo-tsai stated that Taiwan will not approve applications by China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines to provide additional flight service during the Lunar New Year holiday until the Mainland is willing to sit down for technical dialogue on air traffic control for the M503 and three W flight routes. The MOTC has prepared transportation capacity for more than 3,000 people to return to Taiwan via the Mini-Three-Links between Xiamen and Kinmen on February 13, the peak travel day for the two Mainland airlines.

Jan. 24, 2018

At a regular press conference, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) offered five alternatives for Taiwanese business people potentially affected by expanded flight service during the Lunar New Year holiday, including: (1) to book tickets on other flights or approved additional flights; (2) to coordinate with domestic airlines to apply for additional flights to increase passenger capacity; (3) to fly from alternative airports within a two-hour drive; (4) to transfer in Hong Kong or Macao transit to relieve Lunar New Year travel volume; and (5) to negotiate additional boat trips via the Mini Three Links. It also noted that the armed forces is willing to provide necessary transport connections as needed.

Jan. 20, 2018

The MAC issued news reference material entitled, "The government will ensure the rights of the Taiwanese people to safely return home and calls on the two sides to promptly communicate on flight safety issues. " In a five-point statement, it again urged mainland China to show sincerity in caring for the well-being of Taiwanese businesspeople, to promptly hold technical consultations with Taiwan, and to satisfactorily resolve the flight route controversy.

Jan. 19, 2018

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) issued a press release entitled, "If there is no trust and no aviation safety, what's the point of talking about the rights of Taiwanese business people?" The press release questioned the Mainland and expressed Taiwan's position.

Jan. 19, 2018

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) issued a press release claiming that the "Obstruction of approval of additional cross-Strait flights by the Taiwan authorities harms the rights and interests of Taiwan compatriots and runs counter to popular will."

Jan. 18, 2018

The CAA stated in response to media questions that it would hold off on approval of applications for additional cross-Strait flights by China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines in view of the use of the controversial M503 northbound, W122, and W123 flight routes by the two mainland-based airlines.

Jan. 10, 2018

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) established a "Special Section on M503 & 3W" on its website. The section includes a chronicle, news releases and related explanations, diagrams on the M503 and three W flight routes.

Jan. 9, 2018

In the morning, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a cross-Strait affairs delegation from the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. Regarding the unilateral announcement by mainland China—without negotiating with Taiwan—that it would begin using the M503 flight route, President Tsai stated that this move would impact aviation safety and undermine the stable status quo that Taiwan has consistently worked to maintain. The president said that she has directed the national security team to formulate an appropriate response designed to "minimize national risk and maximize regional cooperation." She also expressed hope that the international community understands Taiwan's objectives and will support both sides to begin talks as soon as possible.

Jan. 8, 2018

The MAC released news reference material entitled: "Explanation on certain media reports and mainland scholars claiming that a "political foundation" is a necessary precondition to cross-Strait negotiations." It stated that: 1. "Aviation safety is paramount; the safety of life is priceless": The acceptance of political objectives should not be used as a threat; 2. The Mainland's actions seriously endanger security in the region and the Taiwan Strait; the ruling and opposition parties and international community demand dialogue; and 3. The two sides should promptly begin technical consultations.

Jan. 7, 2018

The president convened a meeting with the heads of ministries related to national security to deliberate responses to the changing situation in East Asia. The president issued that: 1. Mainland China's unilateral activation of the controversial flight routes is a provocation that undermines regional security; 2. The government has a firm grasp of the regional situation and has strengthened national security strategy; 3. The government will enhance national defense readiness and safeguard the democracy and freedom of the people and country; 4. International public relations will be enhanced to win the understanding and support of the international community; and 5. Beijing should fulfill its regional responsibilities and promptly resume negotiations with Taiwan.

Jan. 5, 2018

President Tsai tweeted that “Cross-Strait stability is important to regional stability. Recent unilateral actions by #China – including M503 flight route & increased military exercises – are destabilizing & should be avoided. #Taiwan will continue to safeguard the status quo. We call on all parties to do the same.”

Jan. 5, 2018

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) arranged a meeting with airlines using the routes for questioning and issued a press release demanding that airlines temporarily not use the routes. It did not preclude the possibility of follow-up measures if airlines insist on using the routes.

Jan. 4, 2018

  1. The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) convened a press conference. The MAC also issued a press release stating that, in breach of its promise, the Mainland unilaterally activated the relevant routes with a hidden political agenda in disregard for aviation safety. The MAC solemnly protested and demanded that communication promptly begin.
  2. The CAA issued a press release stating that the Mainland's unilateral activation of the flight routes could affect aviation safety and is unacceptable to Taiwan. It demanded that the two sides promptly begin communication.
  3. The CAA informed airlines that the air routes have not been confirmed through communication or coordination between the two sides. It urged the airlines to not use the routes.
  4. The Ministry of National Defense issued a press release firmly opposing the Mainland's use of the un-negotiated flight routes on grounds of maintaining Taiwan's national security.

Jan. 4, 2018

The Civil Aviation Administration of China  announced that it would activate northbound flights on the established M503 route and related extension routes on January 4.

Mar. 29, 2015

The southbound M503 flight route is formally activated. (The northbound M503 flight route and three W flight routes will not be activated for the time being. The timing of activation is to be confirmed through communication between the two sides).

Mar. 27, 2015

The MAC issued a press release explaining affairs related to the activation of the southbound M503 flight route starting from March 29. It also noted that the government has striven for Taiwan's rights and interests through cross-Strait communication on the M503 route and accepted legislative supervision.

Mar. 2, 2015

The CAA issued a press release after a communication meeting in Shanghai between the Taipei Airlines Association and the China Air Transport Association explaining that the Mainland had agreed to the following adjustment measures:

  1. The date of official flight operation on the M503 route would be delayed and the two sides would further communicate and confirm the implementation date once determined;
  2. Actual flights on the M503 route would be shifted west towards the Mainland by six nautical miles, only southbound flights would be allowed, all planes would yaw west in emergencies, and the related adjustments would be announced by Notice to Airmen (NOTAM);
  3. The W121, W122, and W123 flight routes will not be activated in the current stage and the timing of activation will be communicated and confirmed by both sides;
  4. M503 is an international civil aviation route that will not be used by military jets.

Jan. 16, 2015

The ruling and opposition parties in the Legislative Yuan issued a joint statement expressing their solemn position.

Jan. 12, 2015

The MAC and the MOTC protested to the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) and civil aviation authorities and expressed Taiwan's position of unacceptability. It also demanded that the Mainland continue to coordinate with Taiwan on this matter.

Jan. 12, 2015

Before negotiations between the two sides had achieved a consensus, the Mainland unilaterally issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) announcing that the flight paths of the M503, W121, W122, and W123 flight routes and scheduled activation of the routes on March 5.