Taiwan cancels flights while China holds military exercises

BEIJING: Taiwan canceled air flights on Thursday as of Chinese navy fired artillery near the island in retaliation for a visit by a prominent American lawmaker, but the impact on shipments of processor chips and other goods needed by global industries was unclear.
China has ordered ships and planes to avoid military exercises surrounding the self-governing island, which the ruling Communist Party on the mainland claims as part of its territory. Hong Kong newspaper The South China Morning Post called the exercises an “effective blockade of Taiwan”.
Beijing announced “live-fire exercises” after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived on Tuesday for a one-day visit, defying Beijing’s warnings. She also banned the importation of hundreds of Taiwanese food products including fish, fruit and biscuits.
The two sides, which separated in 1949 after a civil war, have no official ties but one of the most active technological and manufacturing relationships in the world.
At least 40 flights to and from Taiwan were canceled on Thursday, according to the China Times newspaper. He cited Taoyuan airport in the capital, Taipei, saying the cancellations “weren’t necessarily” related to military exercises.
There has been no immediate indication of the possible impact on shipping, which has the potential to rock the global economy. Taiwan produces more than half of the processor chips used in smartphones, cars, tablets and other electronic devices.
Any significant disruption “would create shockwaves for global industries,” he said Rajiv Biswas of S&P Global Market Intelligence in an email.
Some flights to the mainland would make a detour via Hong Kong. Taiwan’s Transport Minister Wang Kwo-tsai said at a press conference.
Business has grown even as the government of Chinese President Xi Jinping has stepped up pressure on Taiwan, sending an increasing number of fighter jets and bombers flying around the island to intimidate his government.
Bilateral trade rose 26% last year to $ 328.3 billion. Taiwan said chip sales to Chinese factories increased 24.4% to $ 104.3 billion.
Fruit, fish and other foods are a small fraction of Taiwan’s exports to China, but the ban hurts areas that are seen as supporters of President Tsai Ing-wen.
Beijing has used import bans on bananas, wine, coal and other goods as leverage in disputes with Australia, the Philippines and other governments. (AP)