How to get from Taipei to Montevideo

Oops. It is Asuncion, not Montevideo. I got the wrong "turtle" ("Guay"). Thanks to Roland's for his correction in the comment below.

I keep the same old WRONG title, because,
1) Blogger will change the permalink/etc if I change the title. This is a punishment for my careless mistake, a major mistake for someone who claim to be a map lover, so everyone knows that i made such a silly mistake.
2) I am no less guilty than CSB and Taiwan media, as Lin Cho-Shui correctly pointed out (do a search on 過境 on yahoo news Taiwan, less than 10% mention the name of destinaion country. most just said "2 conutries in C&S America". I know that should not be my excuse), in neglecting CSB's designated mission in this trip.

(As David noted in the comment below, ASU is 78 miles from the anti-pole of TPE, which makes the additional mileage in detours less dramatic than that of MVD. You can replace ASU with MVD in the "paths box" of the great circle links, you will see the difference in mileages are much bigger.)

(Warning: this is really a map/geography post, not a political post. The author takes Ah Bian "Astray Diplomacy 迷航外交" as an excuse to blog on geography.)

The shortest route from Taipei to Montevido(Uraguay) Asuncion Paraguay is to fly over South Africa (12367 miles). However, the longest a commerical flight (Boeing 747) can fly is around 8000 miles (e.g. the direct (polar) flights from HKG to JFK(NYC) on Cathay Pacific, 8072 miles).

Therefore, a fueling station is needed. CSB wanted to refuel at NYC, SFO or LAX. But these paths do not make much sense, said DPP legislator Lin Cho-Shui. Lin contends that the purpose of the trip is to visit Montevideo, not big cities in USA.
  • 林濁水表示,就算是高層出訪過境美國一百次,每次美方都多提供一點點接待規格,臺灣與美國的關係也沒有正常化...他痛批,政府的心態是把過境當成外交的主軸,爭取到一點表面的規格就洋洋得意,完全是荒唐,不要把國家資源浪費在沒意義的過境爭取上。
  • "the government has made transit the core axis of diplomacy, and flatters itself when it receives every insignificant gesture [from USA]. This is totally ridiculous. Do not waste resources on meaningless transit diplomacy....even if Taiwan received elevated treatment every time for 100 times, there is no impact on the normalization of Taiwan-US relationship."
Chiang III said JNB (South Africa) is a better refuel station. I usually do not believe in politicians, esp someone from the Chiang family. So I did some research on the economics of the paths. Here is what I got
  • TPE-JNB-ASU: 12368 (miles)
  • TPE-JFK-ASU: 12459
  • TPE-ANC-ASU: 12485
  • TPE-SFO-ASU: 12502
  • TPE-LAX-ASU: 12503
So Lin is correct. JFK is not the best path, nor is SFO/LAX. Chiang III is actually totally right (my apologies). JNB is the best alternative, only 1 mile off the ideal path.

P.S. US also suggested the best path for Taipei-San Jose(Costa Rica), CSB obliged. CSB also chose ANC over HNL as transit point to ASU, due to better path and logistics.
  • TPE-SJO (great circle): 9478
  • TPE-ANC-SJO: 9496
  • TPE-SFO-SJO: 9508
  • TPE-HNL-SJO: 10001
  • TPE-JFK-SJO: 10012
Unrelated post (but more interesting): Jujuflop on DPP's Karl Rove, who is repsonsible for almost every single victory of DPP and CSB, and doing it again.

Latest rumour: CSB is making a 'protest transit' at Tripoli or Beirut.
TPE-BEY-ASU=12381; TPE-BEY-ASU=12385
Better choices than ANC.

New update (May 4):
Ooops it is Abu Dhabi! Lebanon rejected the request.
A small problem: TPE-AUH-ASU=4139+8234=12373 miles, although an overall shorter distance, it is not a mid-point refuel. i.e. the second segment AUH-ASU is 8234 miles, 747 can handle this with no problem, but for safety, it might need a "forced" re-fuel if encounters headwind. Let's pray for the wind.

New update (May 5):
According to the "Foreign Minister" Huang, the Aquafresh plane will have to refuel at Dominican Republic again. Pretty big detour this time.
New mileage: TPE-AUH-SDQ-ASU=4139+7671+3111=14911, what a mileage run! Is CSB trying to earn more miles for his children? Given the recent controversial of family member tag-along to AUH.
Of course, there is a latest twist. Because the ground temperature in AUH is too high, 47 degrees Celsius. The plane could not refuel fully (avoid high pressure in gas tank). The plane could not even reach Santo Domingo, it stopped at Amsterdam. TPE-AUH-AMS-ASU=13891.

Refueling stop for the return trip is another game to play. "Guerilla diplomacy", some say. Perhaps not Anchorage.


ESWN said...

Montevideo? I'm pretty sure the CSB is going to Paraguay (capital Asuncion). Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay. But it is close enough.

David said...

Somehow I don't think saving on fuel and flighttime is the main thing on CSBs mind - but you knew that :)

Interesting that Paraguay is exactly on the other side of the world to Taiwan - so you could take any route you wanted to get there ...

reno said...

Hello !

Bonjour from Belgium !!


Sun Bin said...

Thanks, ESWN. That was a terrible mistake by me. As this is "intended" to be a goegraphy post. :) I do think I saw Uraguay in one of the news report. But still, no excuse. A few hundred miles away, but some difference in the numbers and conclusion. The shortest path from TPE to MVD is via Perth, while that for TPE-ASU is via Jo'berg.

David, of course you are right. So I thought your Karl Rove post is a lot more interesting. The point here is mainly to echo Lin Cho-Shui's, that the transit diplomacy is "舍本逐末". Seriously, what is the point of passing through USA every year? this just opens yourself up to more opportunities of being hijacked by US.
Huang Chi-fang seems to suggest that CSB's next trip will make it to NYC. I am afraid he is just paving way for another humiliation in future.

Sun Bin said...

related report on transit locations

Sun Bin said...


i just check the coordinates of ASU and TPE. the anti-pole of TPE is 25/04/40S;58/46/02W, it is 78.8 miles from ASU 25/14/23S;57/31/09W.

these are coordinates of the airports, not the downtowns.

Because of this, the difference of taking different paths is very small. the results are much less dramatic than that of TPE-MVD (which is over 1000 mile difference for different transit points)

Siegfried said...

There's another blog talks about the flight distance.

Sun Bin said...

thanks siegfried. interesting discussions.
seems his graph also taken from the great circle site.

however, he is wrong in that there is no transit required. the range of 747-400 is a bit over 8000 miles, although an empty aircraft could fly from LHR to SYD. see wiki entry on Boeing 747-400

Sun Bin said...

stratfor believes US snubs both sides of the straits on purpose.

Anonymous said...

What's matter, know-it-all Sun Bin wannabe? Where is your mad dizzy overly genius intellect? You should be able to set up your ambush with that written paper of "You die on here" for CSB before fire your gay outdated arrows of death. Lol!!