China wants Taiwan to allow permanent direct air links with the mainland.

Three weeks of direct flights between the bitter rivals ended Sunday. The non-stop links were the first in 55 years, transporting Taiwanese business people home over the Lunar New Year holiday.

The mainland's official China Daily newspaper said Monday that the flights had been welcomed by both travelers and airlines, and should become a permanent arrangement.

The newspaper blamed Taiwan's leaders for blocking the will of the people, saying authorities on the island fear that direct transport links could undermine what the paper called their "Taiwan independence" bid.

The newspaper called on Taiwan officials to reverse its direct air ban.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.