The Trump administration says it is going to block all commercial flights to the US by Chinese airlines on June 16—or sooner, at the president's discretion. The Transportation Department says the move is a response to China's refusal to allow American carriers including Delta and United to resume flights to China this month, the New York Times reports. American airlines halted all flights to China after President Trump's travel ban in February, while Chinese carriers continued to operate at least 20 flights a week between the two countries, reports the AP. In late March, Beijing said it would restrict foreign airlines to one flight per week based on flight schedules earlier that month—which meant zero flights for the US carriers.
United and Delta had hoped to resume flights to China in June, while American Airlines, which also operated flights to China, had not announced plans to resume service before October. The administration says China's restriction on US airlines violates a 1980 aviation agreement that calls for rules to "equally apply to all domestic and foreign carriers." "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 new US rule states. The rule affects seven Chinese carriers, including Air China, but will not affect cargo flights, reports the Washington Post. US authorities say China is considering changing its rule, but it has not provided a timeline. (Read more China stories.)