China’s Flagrant Violation of Taiwanese Sovereignty Forbodes Xi’s Version of a Chinese World Order

The recent news that the PRC has unilaterally permitted its passenger air carriers to fly route M503, in contravention of international norms has been met with fear in the island, but an utter lack of consternation from the international community. This is in response to apparently increased flight volume in the southern corridor of China, linking Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Hong Kong and Shanghai

M503 flies parallel to the midway point of the Taiwan straight, 7.8km from Taiwanese airspace, and in broach of flight paths for Taiwanese domestic flights. In 2015 a similar flight path was opened, but after consultation between PRC and Taiwan’s KMT (Nationalist) party, the Chinese agreed to shift the route West. The election of pro-independence party leader Tsai-Ying Wen has led to a deterioration in cross-straight relations, and this could be construed as a test of Taiwanese and American reactions, and the CPC flexing its muscles and acting with relative impunity in a region focused more on North Korea.

Taiwan has apparently retaliated by denying permits for cross straight flights for two airlines who are actively utilizing M503, Xiamen Air and China Eastern Airlines. They have correspondingly increased the flight permits for Taiwanese airlines, and those Chinese airlines who are not utilizing M503.

It is expected that these issues could affect upwards of 50,000 people.

China refuses to discuss this, referring to it as a domestic issue, as they still regard Taiwan as a renegade province since the Republic of China fragmented during the Chinese civil war and the communists stayed on the mainland.

Tensions have ratcheted up significantly in recent months, evidenced by the clear threat of invasion should the United States ever station military vessels in Taiwan.