Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) yesterday accused Korean Air of discriminating against Taiwanese and demanded an apology from the company.
Huang said at a press conference that Korean Air charges S$430.30 (US$329.61) per ticket “starting from Taiwan” to Seoul on its traditional Chinese-character Web site.
However, the airline on its simplified Chinese-character Web site based in Singapore charges only 1,831 yuan (US$275.4) per trip “from Taiwan, China” to Seoul.
According to Huang, the move is “an attempt to downgrade” Taiwanese, as they would only be entitled to the cheaper tickets if they accept Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is a part of China.
“Korean Air should immediately make a correction and offer an apology to Taiwan, otherwise we will boycott it,” Huang said.
Yeh Yung-ching (葉永清), a section chief of the Civil Aeronautics Administration said Korean Air prices its tickets from Taipei to Seoul at about NT$8,200 on its Web sites in the US, Europe and Hong Kong, but charges NT$9,800 on its Singaporean Web site.
Yeh said he is not sure whether the differences are a result of “a tagging mistake,” and that the administration would ask the airline to make improvements and establish a Web site for Taiwan.
Liang Chao-lin (梁兆林), a senior official with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Asian-Pacific Affairs, said officials at the Taipei branch of Korean Air told him it had already suggested to its headquarters that the Web site should be revised so that it no longer describes Taiwan as “Taiwan, China.”