Passenger traffic on cross-Strait flights has recently increased, though within the constraints of limited flight options. The Democratic Progressive Party authorities in Taiwan are being urged to fully reopen direct cross-Strait flights to meet the demands of the public.
Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said during a news conference in Beijing that between Nov 5 and 11, a total of 14 mainland cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Chengdu and Shenzhen, operated 580 passenger flights across the Taiwan Strait, serving 84,528 passengers.
While acknowledging the increased number of cross-Strait flights and passenger volume compared to during the pandemic, Zhu highlighted the persistent inconvenience due to limited flight options.
"A complete resumption of direct flights across the Strait would facilitate people-to-people exchanges and improve communication," she said.
Zhu urged the Taiwan authorities to heed public opinion and reopen full cross-Strait air travel, sea travel and the Mini Three Links, referring to small-scale trade, shipping and postal services between Fujian province and Kinmen Island and the Matsu Island group.
Despite the Taiwan "mainland affairs council" claiming to have released a plan in late August, allowing Taiwan's travel agencies to resume organizing group tours to the mainland with a one-month preparation period, the DPP authorities have yet to lift the ban, Zhu noted.
"The DPP authorities have prohibited the island's travel agencies from operating group tours to the mainland for over three and a half years, consistently overlooking the calls and interests of the tourism industry and the public," she said.
Zhu pointed out that numerous mainland cities have recently hosted activities across sectors such as trade, culture, agriculture and machinery, which attracted tens of thousands of individuals, enterprises, social organizations, experts and scholars from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, fostering exchanges and cooperation.