China may try to restrict Taiwan’s air access to outlying islands: expert

Focus Taiwan
Date: 10/17/2020
By: Matt Yu, Wang Shu-fen
and Matthew Mazzetta

A UNI Air ATR-72 600 70-seat plane. CNA file photo

Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) A retired Taiwan Air Force general warned Saturday that an incident on Thursday, in which Hong Kong turned back a Taiwan military-chartered supply plane en route to the Dongsha Islands, may have been the first move in a broader campaign by China to restrict air access to Taiwan's outlying territories.

The relevant government agencies need to put in place a response plan, in the event that aircraft are not allowed to enter the Flight Information Regions (FIRs) en route to the Taiwan's Kinmen and Matsu islands, among others, retired Lieutenant General Chang Yen-ting (張延廷) said.

In a television interview on Saturday, Chang said Taiwan's national defense, foreign and interior ministries, along with its Straits Affairs Foundation and Mainland Affairs Council, must be prepared in case China begins using similar tactics against military flights.

Chang was commenting on an incident on Thursday, in which a civilian aircraft chartered by Taiwan's military was advised by Hong Kong air traffic controllers not to enter the airspace over a group of islands in the South China Sea because "dangerous activities" were in progress in the area, according to Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA).    [FULL  STORY]

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