Beijing lauds airlines over Taiwan reference - RTHK
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Beijing lauds airlines over Taiwan reference

2018-07-25 HKT 21:35
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Beijing is congratulating international airlines for bending to its demand that they stop referring to Taiwan as an independent country on their websites after the issue generated friction with the US.

The three largest US carriers - American Airlines, Delta and United - are among a wave of airlines that have removed references to Taiwan on their websites ahead of a Wednesday deadline set by Beijing. Many airlines now simply list Taiwan's capital, Taipei, as a destination while omitting Taiwan.

China's Foreign Ministry applauded the airlines' changes on Wednesday as "positive progress". China welcomes foreign businesses if they "abide by Chinese laws and regulations, sovereignty and territorial feelings, and the feelings of the Chinese people", ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

As of late Wednesday, all 44 airlines that had been asked to make changes by China's aviation authority had complied, according to the People's Daily, the Communist Party's official newspaper.

Beijing has claimed Taiwan as a breakaway province since the sides split during the civil war in 1949 and threatens to use force to annex it. The mainland has increasingly used its economic and political clout to pressure countries and corporations to stop recognising the island's government.

US government officials vigorously criticised mainland demands over the Taiwan designation and sought talks with their Chinese counterparts, which Beijing rejected. The White House in May slammed the Chinese order as "Orwellian nonsense".

China represents a key air travel market for many international airlines and could become the world's largest by 2022, overtaking the United States, the International Air Transport Association industry group has projected.

Taiwan's cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka called Beijing's behaviour "unjust" and asked for support from the international community.

"We keep on urging the international community not to become an accomplice of China bullying Taiwan," Kolas told reporters on Wednesday. (AP & AFP)