Fri, Jun 08, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan name change is airline’s matter: Canada

‘COMMERCIAL DECISION’:Ottawa neither endorses nor opposes China’s claims on Taiwan, the country’s representative said, but Air Canada is listed and answers only to its shareholders

Staff writer, with CNA

Canadian Trade Office in Taipei Executive Director Mario Ste-Marie speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday, as Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan chairman Jean-Christophe Guedon looks on.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

The Canadian government would not intervene in a “commercial” decision by Air Canada to list Taiwanese cities as part of China, Canadian Trade Office in Taipei Executive Director Mario Ste-Marie said yesterday, but added that “we are of course opposed to [the] government of China putting pressure on Canadian companies to take a position on the issue.”

Speaking on the sidelines of a news conference about this year’s Canada Day celebrations in Taipei, Ste-Marie told reporters that the airline’s move was “strictly a commercial decision.”

Although Canada adheres to a “one China” policy under which it recognizes the People’s Republic of China as the sole government of China, it takes no stance on China’s views toward Taiwan, Ste-Marie said.

“On the Taiwanese issue, we know their [China’s] claim on Taiwan, but we don’t endorse it or oppose it, we just take note of it,” he said. “We are in favor of maintaining the ‘status quo’ and the best cross-strait relations possible to allow discussions between Taiwan and China.”

The Canadian government opposes Beijing’s pressuring of Canadian private firms to take sides on the issue of Taiwan’s status, Ste-Marie said, adding that it cannot intervene because Air Canada is a private company that answers only to its owners and shareholders.

Air Canada early last month changed its Web site to list flights as bound for “Taipei, CN” rather than “Taipei, Taiwan.”

The decision was made after China’s Civil Aviation Administration in late April sent letters to pressure 36 global airlines to remove references to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as countries on their Web sites and marketing materials.

The move caused an uproar in Taiwan and within the Taiwanese-Canadian community.

A representative of Air Canada in Taiwan told reporters that all Air Canada Taiwan employees hold Taiwanese passports and share the feelings of other Taiwanese about the name change.

However, Air Canada Taiwan country manager Sophia Chen (陳美至) said that instead of focusing on political issues, her team would focus on providing better service to Taiwanese customers in the hope that Air Canada headquarters would place more emphasis on the Taiwanese market.

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