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Beijing plans charter flights across Straits
Updated: 2005-01-03 11:18

The Chinese mainland will work hard to promote the launching of charter flights across the Taiwan Straits during the Spring Festival, the Chinese Lunar New Year, and welcomes Taiwan people to come for talks over the issue, a spokesman said Sunday.

The mainland hopes the charter flights can be operated by airlines on both sides of the Straits in direct routes so as to really meet the need of Taiwan businessmen doing business in the mainland, really save their time and free them from fatigue during the journey, and really cut the operating costs of airlines involved, said the spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

It is an internal issue between Chinese across the Straits to decide the procedures and related technical and business issues of the charter flights, which should have been settled through the cross-Straits negotiation mechanism, the spokesman said. "But we cannot get the talks going because of the reason known to all," he added.

For the benefit of the Taiwan compatriots, the mainland suggested that airlines across the Straits communicate directly over technical and business details concerning the charter flights in order to reach a consensus and make arrangements for them to operate their own flights.

"It's practical and feasible to do so," said the spokesman. "As a matter of fact, charter flights were run in this way in the Spring Festival of 2003, which were endorsed by the Taiwan side."

"We have noticed that for some time the major leaders and relevant departments of Taiwan had advocated launching direct charter flights operated by airlines on both sides of the Straits for the coming Spring Festival," the spokesman said.

It is the sincere hope of the mainland that "they can keep their words" and create conditions for the chartered planes to take off so as to the meet the strong aspirations of Taiwanese businessmen who have had a year's hard work in the mainland to return home smoothly for family reunion, he said.

The mainland has also noticed that some opinion leaders and airlines executives in Taiwan have expressed their willingness to come to the mainland for talks over the charter flights.

"We welcome them to come and are willing to exchange views with them," said the spokesman.

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