China advises airlines to stay away from areas near Taiwan as tensions rise

Chinese authorities designate “danger zones” for military drills.

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In reaction to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island, China cautioned airlines operating in Asia to avoid flying in regions where it is conducting military drills.

According to carriers who got the notification and Mr. Jang Chang-seog, a representative of the South Korean transport ministry, an official notice designating six sectors of airspace as “risk zones” was delivered late on Tuesday (Aug. 2), Hong Kong time. From Thursday (August 4) at noon through Sunday at noon, there will be a restriction on flights.

As the highest-ranking American official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, Mrs. Pelosi arrived in Taipei late on Tuesday, leading China to denounce the visit and announce a slew of economic and military reactions.

The island, a thriving democracy and important supplier of semiconductors, is regarded by China as a renegade province that must be reunified, by force if necessary.

The most contentious issue between the United States and China continues to be Taiwan, which has the potential to lead to a military clash in the future.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday that China’s provocative acts, including its deliberate escalation of military operations against Taiwan, “have been challenging international order and damaging peace and security across the Taiwan Strait.”

It added: “The People’s Liberation Army announcing live-fire drills and demanding that other nations’ aircraft and vessels to stay clear of specific airspace and territorial waters have been especially harmful to international trade and economic exchanges, as well as international law and order.”

The statement continued, “to safeguard the international order that is founded on rules and prevent the regional situation from escalating, the Taiwanese government will continue to actively enhance Taiwan’s self-defence capabilities and also maintain close communication and negotiations with likeminded countries, such as the US, to ensure safety across the Taiwan Strait and peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”

The ministry reaffirmed that Taiwan and China do not share a common ancestor, and it added that the Taiwanese government would continue to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Xiamen Airlines notified changes to many flights in response to China’s notification, citing “flow control” in Fujian.

In order to avoid Taiwan’s airspace at the time of China’s military exercises, Korean Airlines plans to reroute some routes to South Asia, a spokesman said.

Pilots of Cathay Pacific Airways were warned to bring along 30 minutes’ worth of extra fuel in case they needed to reroute through Taiwan.

The Chinese civil aviation authority did not immediately respond to calls or messages.

According to government comments, regional offices of China’s marine safety administration have issued several cautions for ships passing through certain regions, citing military drills and shooting practise.

Airline disruptions occurred as US-China tensions rise and businesses struggle with supply-chain problems around the world brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The uncertainty surrounding the three-day flying ban added to worries about rising commodity costs and supply chain threats.

123 flights were cancelled at Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, one of the close-by mainland airports to Taiwan, while 79% of flights continued as scheduled, according to data source Variflight.

93 flights at the Fuzhou Changle International Airport in Fujian were cancelled, while 74% of other flights continued as scheduled.

In response to the warning, the South Korean transport ministry informed regional airlines once more that flights to Taiwan were safe, according to Mr. Jang.

Another significant Korean airline, Asiana Airlines, has not yet changed how it operates, according to a representative.

Both Japan’s ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines reported that operations on their flights to and from Taiwan were unaffected.