The Trump administration has decided to punish the Chinese Communist Party for failing to comply with a transport agreement with the United States, saying it would suspend all flights by Chinese airlines to and out of the country.
In a statement issued on June 2, the Transportation Department said the U.S. carriers have asked to resume passenger service to China, beginning June 1, but “the Chinese government’s failure to approve their requests is a violation of our Air Transport Agreement.”
The department said it would halt passenger flights of four Chinese passenger carriers to and from the United States starting June 16.
The suspension order could be implemented sooner if President Donald Trump orders it, the statement said.
According to The Associated Press, the Trump administration made the order in response to the CCP’s failure to let United Airlines and Delta Air Lines resume its flights to China this month after they were suspended earlier this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, but Chinese carriers have continued U.S. flights during the pandemic.
The administration said that the CCP is violating an existing agreement between the two countries covering flights by each other’s airlines.
“The department will continue to engage our Chinese counterparts so both U.S. and Chinese carriers can fully exercise their bilateral rights,” the Transport Department said. “In the meantime, we will allow Chinese carriers to operate the same number of scheduled passenger flights as the Chinese government allows ours.”
“Our overriding goal is not the perpetuation of this situation, but rather an improved environment wherein the carriers of both parties will be able to exercise fully their bilateral rights,” the department said.
The four Chinese carriers that would receive the suspension order included Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Hainan Airlines Holding, Reuters reported.