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3 Jun, 2020 14:18

US Transportation Dept set to BLOCK Chinese passenger flights in tit-for-tat dispute

US Transportation Dept set to BLOCK Chinese passenger flights in tit-for-tat dispute

The US Department of Transportation has confirmed it will suspend Chinese passenger carriers’ flights into the US starting June 16 after Beijing refused to approve several US airlines seeking to resume flights to China.

The department clarified that it hopes to pressure China into permitting Delta Airlines and United Airlines to resume servicing passenger routes to China after both airlines paused service due to the coronavirus pandemic, insisting its aim is not “the perpetuation of this situation” in a statement released Wednesday.

“Should the [Chinese aviation authority] adjust its policies to bring about the necessary improved situation for US carriers, the Department is fully prepared to revisit the action it has announced in this order,” the statement continued.

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Relations between the US and China have gone south amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Trump administration blaming the virus on China and pulling its financial support from the World Health Organization for its perceived sympathies toward Beijing. Critics of Washington’s response point to its refusal to take action against the virus until it was already infecting Americans despite months of advance warning.

The Trump administration last month accused Beijing of making it “impossible” for US carriers to resume China flights and demanded four Chinese airlines file their flight schedules with Washington. China has permitted its airlines to fly one scheduled passenger flight every week on one route to any country amid the pandemic in an effort to slow the virus’ spread.

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