Taiwan, Hong Kong sign new aviation deal
Taiwan and Hong Kong signed a new aviation agreement on Friday to add more flights between the two and boost trade and tourism, officials in Taipei said.
Under the new deal, the two will increase weekly passenger flights to 410 by March from 340, said Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration.
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They also agreed to boost cargo shipment by nearly 80 percent to 3,000 tonnes a week by summer and allow up to 28 weekly charter flights to connect Hong Kong with several new destinations in Taiwan, it said.
The accord, which will take effect on January 1, is the first to be signed by official representatives rather than airline officials, reflecting warmer ties between Taiwan and the southern Chinese territory, Taipei said.
Taiwan in July upgraded the status of its de facto consulate in Hong Kong in a move hailed as a new milestone in ties and which observers said was made possible by the island's improving relationship with China.
Taiwan has ruled itself since it split from China in 1949 after a civil war, but Beijing still claims sovereignty over the island, by force if necessary.
However, tensions with the mainland have eased since Taiwan's China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou came to power in 2008.
by Safak Timur © 2011 AFP