Wed, May 02, 2018 - Page 1 News List

US rebukes Beijing over Taiwan threat to airlines

Staff writer, with CNA, WASHINGTON

The US Department of State on Monday expressed concern over China’s efforts to curtail Taiwan’s international space after Beijing demanded that two US airlines do not refer to Taiwan as a nation on their Web sites.

Washington-based Foreign Policy magazine last week reported that China’s Civil Aviation Administration had sent letters to United Airlines and American Airlines, asking them to follow Beijing’s restrictions against “separatism.”

“On April 27 we raised our strong concerns with Chinese authorities in Beijing regarding their order to the airlines,” the department said in a statement e-mailed to the Central News Agency. “While we seek a mutually beneficial commercial aviation relationship with China, we will consider taking appropriate action if necessary in response to unfair Chinese actions.”

Beijing demanded that the two carriers’ global operations follow China’s restrictions against “separatism,” meaning any references to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as independent nations must be removed, Foreign Policy reported.

“The strongly worded letter demands that all public-facing content, across the world, must follow Chinese law,” the report said.

Beijing asked the airlines to set a timeline to comply with the demand and threatened to refer them to “the relevant cybersecurity authorities” if they failed to do so.

“We object to Beijing dictating how US firms, including airlines, organize their Web sites for ease of consumer use,” the department said, adding that it would keep in touch with airlines and agencies.

Chinese companies’ Web sites are able to operate without political interference in the US, it added.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged the airlines not to give in to pressure from China.

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