China: New leader of Taiwan wants scheduled air links with mainland China by July 2009

15 April 2008

Macau, China, 15 April – The air links between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland will be scheduled before July 2009, the leader of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou said in a written statement to Portuguese news agency Lusa.

According to Taiwan’s new leader, who is due to take office on 20 May, air links between Taiwan and mainland China, which will initially be at the weekend, would become daily by the end of 2009, despite maintaining their charter designation.

Ma Ying-jeou sees the new strategy of moving towards the Chinese mainland via scheduled flights in a “commercial and social” context as, he explained, businesspeople would thus have more time to focus on business whilst their families could comfortably remain at home.

“As well as financial savings on the high cost of transport between Taiwan and mainland China, with direct flights the businessmen of Taiwan can focus on their business without sacrificing their family life, as their wives and children can live comfortably in their cities,” said Ma Ying-jeou.

Currently, travelling between Taiwan and China requires use of other countries or territories such as Macau, Hong Kong or South Korea ‘ the three main transit points to China – and not all airports in Taiwan have international flights, which makes journeys longer and more expensive.

The importance of direct flights can be understood, as Ma Ying-jeou said, in the context of the direct investment of US$65 billion made by Taiwanese businesspeople in China over the last tem years.

As well as this, 40.7 percent of Taiwan’s exports are sent to mainland China, despite using another country or territory as an intermediary.

In 2007 Taiwan posted a trade surplus with China of US$70.6 billion.

“Despite the figures, the lack of direct links has made economic bilateral cooperation difficult,” he said. (macauhub)