Sun, Jul 01, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Groups urge Canadian airlines to resist Chinese threats

CHANGES:Canadian Trade Office Executive Director Mario Ste-Marie announced he is to step down after nearly three years and was awarded the Friendship Medal of Diplomacy

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Members of non-governmental organizations protest against Air Canada’s decision to refer to Taiwan’s capital as “Taipei, China” on its booking Web site at the Canada Day celebrations in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

The Taiwan Society and other groups yesterday urged Canadian airlines not to bow to pressure from China and to stop listing Taiwan as a part of China on their Web sites.

Many companies have changed Taiwan’s designation on their Web sites since Beijing in April sent letters to 36 global airlines demanding that they refer to Taiwan as a part of its territory. Among the carriers was Air Canada, which last month started referring to Taiwan’s capital as “Taipei, China” on its booking Web site.

The Canadian government would not intervene in the firm’s “commercial” decision, Canadian Trade Office in Taipei Executive Director Mario Ste-Marie said last month, but added that it is opposed to China putting pressure on Canadian firms.

The groups held a news conference at Taipei’s Hakka Cultural Park, where the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan was holding a Canada Day celebration, calling on Ottawa to push the airline to reverse the change.

Taiwan and Canada embrace the values of democracy, freedom, human rights and justice, and share a firm friendship, Taiwan Society chairman Chang Yeh-sen (張葉森) said, adding that Taiwanese were disappointed by the airline’s decision to bow to China’s pressure.

Chang said he also hopes that diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Canada would resume soon, citing US Representative Dana Rohrabacher’s filing of a resolution on June 20 with the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, urging the US to resume formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

The organization is optimistic that more progress can be made in Taiwan-US relations, he said.

Canada in 1970 switched formal diplomatic recognition to China and cut ties with Taiwan. The US followed suit in 1979.

In other news, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday announced that Ste-Marie is to step down this month after holding the post since October 2015.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) awarded Ste-Marie the Friendship Medal of Diplomacy for his contributions to furthering bilateral relations.

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