17 May 2009

Taiwan and China agree to "regular" flights across the Strait

On 26 April 2009 Xinhua reported on the outcome of negotiations held that day between ARATS and SEF. The new air services arrangements change the status of flights from charter (non-scheduled) to regular (scheduled) from two Taiwanese airports, increase flight frequencies from 108 to 270 per week, introduce new air routes between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland, and increase the number of mainland points that may be served by six to 27 (see previous post).

On 24 April 2009 the China Post had reported that the Taiwanese negotiators had been seeking 375 flights per week.

On 1 May 2009 the Taipei Times reported on the implications for the allocation of these rights between Taiwanese airlines.

On 14 May 2009 China Daily reported comments from Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific (CX) on the implications of the deal for the airline.

On 15 May 2009 the Taipei Times reported that the negotiators had yet to agree to an exchange of overflight (first freedom) rights that would allow Taiwanese airlines to overfly the Chinese mainland enroute to Europe.

1 comment:

Michael Turton said...

John, I think you'll be interested in the Taiwan News editorials on this. They might not yet be behind the paywall there, and the links are in this post on my blog:

The talks began last Saturday with an unseemly embrace by SEF Chairman and KMT vice chairman Chiang Ping-kun of ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin, but the real atmosphere was actually set by the purposeful "coincidence" of the SEF-ARATS talks, held in Nanjing at Beijing's suggestion, of massive celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the former Republic of China capital by the Chinese Communist Party's People's Liberation Army on April 22, 1949.

Although downplayed by pro-KMT media, this transparent political humiliation was followed by a diplomatically cordial drubbing by the Beijing side.

For example, ARATS turned down various requests by the SEF side, such as Taipei's plea to increase the flights for Taiwan airlines in "golden routes" such as between Taipei and Shanghai and instead graciously expanded flights between Taipei and "hot spots" like Nanchang and Hefei instead and added northward routes that passed only through PRC air control zones to emphasize the "domestic" character of cross-strait air routes.

Moreover, in response to the KMT government's urgency to initiate talks on a cross-strait economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA), the Beijing side excluded the ECFA from discussion for the fourth Chiang-Chen "negotiations," evidently pending the offer of further concessions by the Taipei side.

Last but not least, the PRC side showed that it treated the SEF-ARATS talks as "normal negotiations" by leaking a draft but unsigned set of agreements to the official Xinhua News Agency and thus forcing the Taiwan negotiators to sign Beijing's version or threaten not to sign the agreements, a risk that the KMT side lacked the political courage to take.

As noted in a previous editorial, the underlying strategy of the CCP toward the KMT is reminiscent of the declaration made by the late Soviet Union dictator Joseph Stalin on April 5, 1927 in the midst of the Chinese "national revolution" that Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT "have to be utilized to the end, squeezed out like a lemon, and then flung away."
also this section from another:

For example, the touted "breakthrough" agreements that opened direct cross-strait commercial marine and air links both denigrated Taiwan's status by treating such routes as "domestic" through the exclusion of foreign carriers and thus also harmed Taiwan commercial interests by excluding the vast majority of Taiwan-owned ships which fly foreign flags of convenience and by refusing to extend "fifth freedom" or onward passage rights for even Taiwan airlines.


For example, the failure to include onward flight rights in the new pact will reduce Taiwan into a "commercial air dependency" of the PRC, whose airports will gain control over the lion's share of lucrative "hub" onward connections. Given the widespread claim that Taiwan is rich in capital but short on "investment opportunities" (at least for myopic Taiwan investors), the influx of PRC state-owned companies, with the assistance of local proxies, will be able to use the maximum of 30 percent ownership to secure effective managerial control over Taiwan companies and their technology or knowhow in most economic fields, including telecommunications and news media, snare public works contracts and channels for patronage, and, with investments in hotels and travel companies, secure control over the bulk of renminbi spent in Taiwan by Chinese tourists.

The imminent financial services memorandum of understanding (MOU), which even KMT lawmakers have warned will result in "Money Out" of Taiwan, will offer the PRC's giant state banks channels to control over even more Taiwan capital and access to up-to-date inside financial information on Taiwan companies and any citizen who has a credit or finance card, access which will undoubtedly be utilized for political as well as commercial purposes.
The "opening" is a scam to sell out the island.