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Taiwan to launch charter flights to China

Taiwan has agreed to launch regular passenger charter flights between the island and China, informed an official.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2006 10:35 IST

Taiwan has agreed to launch regular passenger charter flights between the island and China in a move that could ease tension across the Taiwan Strait, a Taiwanese airline official said on Wednesday.

Taiwan has held talks with China on the flights over the past year through private airline representatives. A senior airline official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Taiwan and China would announce their agreement on the flights separately later.

Taiwan's top mainland policymaker, the Mainland Affairs Council, said it would make a major announcement later on Wednesday, but declined to give any specifics.

Taiwan has banned direct transportation links with China since the sides split amid civil war in 1949, citing security concerns. Passengers traveling to China have to fly through a third point, usually Hong Kong.

But the Taiwanese Government has come under tremenous pressure to launch direct air inks, as an etimated 3 million Taiwanese travel to China each year for business or sightseeing.

Taiwan also hopes to attract Chinese touists to the island, but Chinese officials say the trips would not be appealing because the indirect flghts add extra time and expense.

First Published: Jun 14, 2006 10:35 IST