Direct China-Taiwan flights begin

aplane_ap.jpgThe first regular, direct flight from mainland China to Taiwan for nearly 60 years has landed at Taipei’s airport.

China’s top official on Taiwan affairs, Wang Yi, said it signalled "a new start" in exchanges.

The two sides have been ruled by separate governments since 1949, forcing travellers to fly via a third destination.

Ties have improved significantly since Taiwan’s new President, Ma Ying-jeou, took office in May.

He advocates stronger economic ties with China,
which considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has threatened force if
it moves towards formal independence.

 

 

The agreements on flights, signed last month, is seen as a big step towards improved cross-strait relations.

‘One family’

The new flights, which will take place from Friday to Monday
only, will connect five major cities in China with eight airports in
Taiwan.

One family’

The new flights, which will take place from Friday to Monday
only, will connect five major cities in China with eight airports in
Taiwan.

The China Southern Airlines flight, from the southern city of
Guangzhou, was the first of 36 cross-strait flights to be launched this
weekend.

It carried about 250 passengers, including 100 tourists from
the mainland, and was met with a traditional lion dance and a water
sprinkling ceremony.

Company chairman Liu Shaoyong flew the plane over.

"This is a sacred moment. The two sides of the strait are like members in one family," he told journalists in Taipei.

At the same time as the China Southern flight was travelling to
Taipei, a Taiwan-based China Airlines flight with Taiwanese tourists
was making its way to Shanghai.

Tourism boost

The first arrivals in Taiwan included some of the 600 Chinese tourists travelling on week-long package trips.

Tourism boost

The first arrivals in Taiwan included some of the 600 Chinese tourists travelling on week-long package trips.

Source: BBC