Chinese tourists arrive on historic direct flight to Taiwan

More than 200 mainland Chinese tourists arrived in Taiwan on Friday on the first regular commercial flight in nearly six decades, a historic move aimed at further easing tensions between the old foes. The China Southern Airlines flight carrying 230 passengers touched down at Taoyuan International Airport in northern Taiwan, and fire trucks on the ground shot water at the plane as a welcome gesture. "From today onward, regular commercial flights will replace the rumbling warplanes over the skies of the Taiwan Strait, and relations between the two sides will become better and better," Chinese pilot Liu Shaoyun said after the 90 minute flight from Guangzhou in southern China. The Chinese passengers passed through an arch made of colorful balloons amid traditional dragon dances and greetings from giddy Taiwanese officials. Taiwan's China Airlines also flew more than 300 Taiwanese on a charter flight to Shanghai earlier in the day.