媒體報導
Talks start on new civil aviation pact with Taiwan (南華早報 2010-12-19 A2版)

The governments of Hong Kong and Taiwan have begun talks on a new civil aviation agreement, long stalled by political complexities since the city's return to Chinese sovereignty.

The existing agreement, which regulates the routes and the number of flights operated by each authorised airline between Taiwan and Hong Kong airports, was first signed in 1996 when the city was a British colony, and has been extended eight times since.

Because the Hong Kong government shunned contact with its counterpart in Taipei in past years, the present arrangements were signed between Cathay Pacific Airways and the Taipei Airlines Association.

Taipei has made abortive attempts to strike an official deal. Talks on the matter were renewed this year after ties improved and a quasi-official communication platform was established.

Several meetings have been held between officials from the two transport ministries to discuss the future aviation arrangements.

"Our Ministry of Transportation and Communications has met with Hong Kong's Transport and Housing Bureau several times. I hope consensus can be reached as soon as possible," James Chu Shi, director general of the department of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs under Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, told the Sunday Morning Post.

"It is very abnormal for private airlines to sign civil aviation agreements. But we understand the political reality."

Without specifying how a new deal might come about, Chu said Lin Chen-kuo, chairman of the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council (ECCC), would play a key role.

The council was launched in May as a counterpart to the local Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council, and together they serve as semi-official platforms for talks on various areas of co-operation.

A bureau spokeswoman said discussions about air services between the two places were ongoing.

Lin, who was leading an ECCC delegation on a three-day visit to Hong Kong that ends today, said the city's government had given more positive responses in talks on other areas compared with the past.

"The attitude of the Hong Kong government has clearly improved," Lin said.

The two sides discussed Hong Kong's proposal to set up a multi-function office in Taipei and Taiwan's proposal to rename its present representative office, the Chung Hwa Travel Service, to properly reflect its role, he said.

"Over the years, business between the two places was done totally by the private sector. The Hong Kong and Taiwan governments did not take much part. But when exchanges reach a certain level, governmental participation is necessary," Lin said.

"We hope this platform will facilitate more exchanges."

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