“Incomprehensible”: Beijing has blasted Tuesday the decision of Paris to limit to a single per week flights chinese to the French, in the name of reciprocity vis-à-vis Air France.
The China, the first countries where the novel coronavirus has been identified in late 2019, has drastically reduced by the end of march its connections with the rest of the world, for fear of the arrival of new patients COVID-19.
The asian country, where the epidemic is virtually eradicated with zero deaths since mid-may, however, permitted since June 8, several foreign airlines (including Air France) to ensure a weekly connection to and from its territory.
China has three major airlines flying to the international (Air China, China Eastern, China Southern), the latter could so far make each one a flight to China-France-by-week ; three in total.
Paris is pushing for the same rights for Air France (the only French company is making in China). That is to say, three weekly connections with the asian country.
In front of the slow exaggerated steps, France has decided to take a retaliatory measure: limit to one flight connection weekly service to the French territory for chinese companies, in the name of “reciprocity”.
“The unilateral decision of the French party to reduce theft is damaging to the chinese airlines and the populations of the two countries,” said Tuesday the embassy of China in France.
“We deeply regret” this initiative from Paris, she pointed out in a press release published on its website.
Concretely, the French decision is the same as deleting two links per week to the chinese companies. The single weekly flight chinese should now be alternating between Air China, China Eastern and China Southern.
The priority of the chinese authorities is to limit the arrival of new patients COVID-19 on their territory; in particular from countries where the management of the epidemic is more lax.
At the beginning of June, China had, however, announced a limited recovery in international flights, after a threat from Washington to suspend flights of the chinese companies in the United States.
Foreign air carriers must, however, obtain the prior green light of the arrival city, which complicates the procedures. Air France wishes to make additional connections to Shanghai.
Beijing is de facto unattainable, because China imposes one-stop health in the province for any international flight to the destination of its capital. A restriction that imposes high costs and the operational conditions very difficult to fulfil for the foreign companies.
Even Shanghai is already a “large number of international flights” and is “under enormous pressure health management,” stressed the embassy of China.
According to her, however, the request of Air France was in the process of being accepted. And the decision “one-sided” Paris would be killed.
“Friendship in the traditional”
“Having regard to the friendship, the sino-French and the need for human mobility bilateral, the chinese (had) given, exceptionally, his or her agreement to that Air France only operates three flights a week to China, a destination of Shanghai,” says the embassy.
“While the Shanghai authorities (had) previously authorized the second weekly flight schedule of Air France Paris to Shanghai, and that he (remained) that the formalities are being finalised at the level of the chinese central government, it is incomprehensible that the French party decides to impose the reduction of the flights of chinese airlines”.
This folder will there be repercussions on the bilateral relations?
The embassy of China stresses that “the peoples of the two countries are linked by a friendship traditional”, inherited in particular from the fact that France was the first major western country to recognize the people’s republic of China in 1964.
But the rest of the statement is more ambiguous.
“Although the issue of theft does not concern a particular sector, it could adversely affect the friendly atmosphere between the two countries if it is not resolved adequately,” says the diplomatic representation of china.
She hopes that France may “take into account the interest of bilateral relations” and “back on the path of dialogue” to “find an adequate solution”.