Het dossier ‘Urk’ | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 130, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



In the study of the history of international relations much of the focus has been on the high politics of alliances. Trading interests, generally regarded as belonging to the realm of low politics, have received less attention, although they were often significant. Aviation serves here as an example. As symbols of national prestige, airlines have played an important role in bilateral relations. An exchange of landing rights symbolizes a good relationship between countries. When disputes between countries arise, air transport is one of the first fields to suffer. Although the Netherlands recognized the People’s Republic of China in 1950, political differences ensured that a bilateral air transport agreement was not reached until 1979. It was not ratified, however. When The Hague approved the delivery of two submarines to the Taiwanese navy in 1980, Beijing regarded this as an unfriendly act. In the years that followed, Dutch airlines began services to Taiwan, under a private contract. This became a new obstacle to normal relations with the People’s Republic. Beijing regarded the Dutch air services to Taiwan as an infringement of Chinese sovereignty. Only after years of diplomatic skirmishes and the removal of all symbols of nationality from the aircraft used on the route to Taipeh was a bilateral air transport agreement with the People’s Republic signed in 1996. This shows that aviation played a more important role in bilateral relations than is generally assumed.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): air transport; bilateral relations; China; Netherlands; Taiwan
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error