China's foreign ministry says Italy willing to resume some China flights

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s foreign ministry said on Friday that Italy was willing to resume some flights between the two countries, after it suspended direct air traffic last month due to worries about the coronavirus outbreak.

It said that China’s vice foreign minister, Qin Gang, had a meeting with Italy ambassador to China, Luca Ferrari, on Thursday during which they discussed the issue.

Qin told Ferrari that Italy’s decision to stop flights without contacting China in advance had caused “great inconvenience” to citizens of both countries, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

China was “strongly dissatisfied with the overreaction and restrictions”, especially as it was trying to bring stranded citizens there home, it said.

Ferrari said Italy sympathizes with the situation facing Chinese residents in Italy and at this stage was willing to approve some applications from Chinese airlines to resume some flights, the Chinese foreign ministry said.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters on whether Italy’s move to resume some China flights included Taiwan too.

Italy’s de facto embassy in Taiwan said on Wednesday that it had “noted” the island’s request for a speedy resumption of air ties, after the Italian government included Taiwan when it stopped direct flights to China.

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