Thailand’s media opposes China’s test flights

Thailand’s media has raised strong objections to China’s test landing of planes on an airstrip illegally built on Chu Thap (Fiery Cross) Reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago, saying that the action only serves to escalate tensions and disputes in the region.

>>> Vietnam protests China’s pilot flight to illegally-built airport in Truong Sa

>>> Chinese planes’ unannounced operations break int’l regulations

The country’s media also called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to unite with each other to prevent the situation from becoming more complicated.

Bangkok Post on January 12, ran an article titled “Unnecessary flight risks” saying China’s claims over the entire East Sea backed by “dubious historical references” is “impossible to accept”.

The article said China must bear the responsibility for creating and maintaining unnecessary and risky conflicts.

The problem boils down to China’s creation of artificial islands within the Truong Sa archipelago. The immediate danger, however, is caused by China’s flights to and from the areas occupied illegally by the country in the archipelago, the article stated.

It also affirmed the statement made by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) that Chinese flights “threaten the safety of all flights in the region” as the Chinese flights involved travel through busy airspace used by scores of airlines from dozens of countries.

Every aircraft that flies without giving public notice puts all flights in danger. It is a terrible decision by China, and should be immediately reversed, the article said.

This is the type of situation where the new ASEAN Community will show its desire and ability to act. ASEAN should approach China as a group, to press Beijing to resume proper air safety standards, it suggested.

In an article issued on the same day, The Nation also called on ASEAN to play a more active role in seeking a solution to maintaining peace and stability in the region.

Despite giving no official response yet, ASEAN cannot remain silent regarding an issue negatively affecting the ASEAN-China relations, the article stated.