Taiwan approves private jet flight to China

Taiwan has cleared the first direct flight by a private aircraft to military rival China, officials said on Friday, continuing a thaw in ties.

Taiwan approves private jet flight to China

Taiwan has cleared the first direct flight by a private aircraft to military rival China, officials said on Friday, continuing a thaw in ties.

Approval for the Taiwan-registered business jet comes despite increased friction between China and the United States over a U.S. proposal to sell $6.4 billion in advanced weapons to the self-ruled island that Beijing claims as its own.

The aircraft belonged to Terry Gou, one of Taiwan's richest people and chairman of the Hon Hai group involved in electronics, a source close to Gou said.

After decades of requiring flights to stop in third regions such as Hong Kong or take lengthy detours for security reasons, Taiwan and China have agreed over the past two years to allow direct passenger and cargo flights.

Private jets were included under the agreements but subject to case-by-case approval.

"We've had rules on this, so anyone could have applied," an official with Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration said. "But the one we just approved was the first."

China, an economic powerhouse just 160 km (100 miles) away from Taiwan at its closest point, has attracted a surge in Taiwan investment since the two sides began relaxing trade restrictions in 2008 under China-friendly Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou.

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong's forces won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists fled to the island. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary.


Reuters

Last Mod: 05 Şubat 2010, 13:33
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