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China Eastern to Fly to Taiwan From July 4

China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Airlines will kick off regular direct flights to Taiwan on July 4, the carriers said in separate statements late Wednesday.

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China Eastern will operate three flights from Shanghai and one flight from Nanjing to Taipei per week, while Shanghai Airlines will fly twice per week from Shanghai to Taipei.

Pricing for the routes has yet to be announced.

Other mainland airlines assigned by regulators to launch direct flights to Taiwan include China Southern Airlines, Air China, Hainan Airlines and Xiamen Airlines.

China and Taiwan signed a landmark deal last Friday to launch regular flights between the long-time rivals. Apart from special holidays, there have been no regular direct flights since 1949.

China has claimed sovereignty over self-ruled and democratic Taiwan ever since and has pledged to bring the island under its control, by force if necessary.

But the election of Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, who won by a landslide in March on pledges to boost the local economy by improving trade with China, has suddenly warmed relations.