Friday, January 20, 2006

China and Taiwan Resume Spring Festival Flights

The first "Spring Festival" flight of the year betwixt Taiwan to Mainland China has just disembarked to help celebrate the continuation of last year's goodwill gesture between the two sides of the straits. The flight, a China Airlines jet, landed in Shanghai at 10:30am on Jan. 20, having arrived from Taipei. This year will only see a limited 72 flights cross the straits to save travelers from much hassle in connecting flights in Hong Kong--the usual method for traveling between Taiwan and China.

Putting this in the light of Chen Shui-bian's harsh rhetoric against the Mainland as of late, the flights of this year will likely cause less international attention than yesteryear's. It does, however, generate a continued sense of optimism among Taiwanese people and may help foster a peaceful status quo, which so far worked quite well for peace in the straits--albeit, with the US navy behind Taiwan's back. Following the theme of engagement and diplomatic resolution to our problems, these 'Flights of Peace' may be remembered in history as carriers of hope and harbingers of stability in what Michael Mandelbaum has dubbed "The Most Dangerous Place in the World"

The on-going impeachment process against President Chen is also likely to overshadow these stupendous flights that attempt to re-unite the Chinese people. If Chen is pushed in a corner to produce even more negative anti-PRC speeches, the flights may have helped the passengers of 72 flights, but to undermine an engagement process between Taiwan and the Middle Kingdom.

British Broadcasting Corp. Article
Voice of America

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