President Tsai Ing-wen convened Jan. 7 a national security meeting in response to dramatic changes in East Asia and the recent unilateral launch of four air routes by mainland China, issuing several directives and calling for the matter to be resolved through fast-tracked cross-strait negotiations.
The frequent regional military actions by North Korea and mainland China are creating tensions in other countries. In addition, the flight routes represent a provocative act that could impact regional peace and stability, Tsai said.
Taiwan is ready and willing to work with mainland China in a responsible manner to resolve this breach in aviation safety and improve relations between the two sides, the president added.
According to Tsai, mainland China must treasure the hard-earned peace and stability defining cross-strait ties, take remedial measures and engage with Taiwan in technical negotiations based on an agreement between the two sides in March 2015.
All agencies are closely monitoring related developments in the region, strengthening response measure preparedness and maintaining close contact with the international community to ensure the safety and well-being of the people, the president said.
In particular, Tsai added, agencies responsible for national security are conducting long-term evaluations and mapping out strategies so as to minimize national risk while maximizing regional cooperation.
Given the recent increase in mainland Chinese military activity, the president said the Republic of China (Taiwan) armed forces are strengthening early warning, deployment and monitoring capabilities in keeping with their mission to protect the nation and the people.
According to Tsai, the unilateral launch of the air routes is unwelcome by the global community as it raises questions over a possible change in the cross-strait status quo. It is important for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Civil Aeronautics Administration to keep airlines, governments and relevant international organizations fully informed of the matter and canvass support and understanding for Taiwan, the president said.
In January 2015, mainland China unilaterally created the four air routes over the Taiwan Strait. These comprise one approaching the median line separating the two sides and three east-west routes potentially interfering with services between Taiwan proper and the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu.