US Airlines to Comply With Beijing's Demand That Taiwan be Labeled as Part of China
U.S. airlines plan to comply with a Chinese government demand that they revise their website identifications of Taiwan to reflect Chinaâs claim on the island territory, said a person familiar with the discussions.
The U.S. carriers affected by the mandate â" American Airlines Group, Delta Air Lines, United Continental Holdings, and Hawaiian Holdings â" will begin to change the Taiwan references over the next day or two, said the person, who asked not to be named because discussions among the carriers were private.
The four airlines had been hoping for a negotiated resolution between the U.S. and Chinese governments ahead of Chinaâs July 25 deadline. Other airlines, including Qantas Airways Ltd., Air France-KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa AG, have already cooperated with Chinaâs wishes.
In April, the Civil Aviation Administration of China sent a letter to more than 40 foreign airlines telling them that they shouldnât place China, Hong Kong and Taiwan on an equal footing, and must refer to âChina Taiwanâ or the âChina Taiwan region.â Maps must display the territories in the same color as mainland China and the websites canât place Taiwan in other categories such as Southeast Asia, the order said.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China, or CAAC, said Wednesday it didnât have an immediate comment on the plans of U.S. carriers. During a briefing by Chinaâs foreign ministry on Tuesday, spokesman Geng Shuang said he hoped the U.S. government will urge relevant businesses to abide by the one China principle and make corrections on their websites as soon as possible.
âLetâs wait and see,â Geng said.
âWeâre a business with significant international activities and we need to deal with regulations in all of those jurisdictions,â Peter Ingram, Hawaiianâs chief executive officer, said Tuesday by telephone. âAnd obviously sometimes that can put us in challenging positions in one jurisdiction versus another.â
Hawaiian consulted with its U.S. peers and government officials in both the U.S. and China before deciding to comply, Ingram said. The company doesnât fly to Taiwan itself but does sell tickets through a codeshare relationship with China Airlines Ltd., which flies nonstop from Taipei to H onolulu. Hawaiian also operates its own service to Beijing.
American, Delta and United declined to comment. United has a flight between San Francisco and Taipei.
Reuters reported earlier that the airlines were poised to accept Chinaâs demands.
China has waged a campaign to force global businesses to conform to its world view if they want to stay in its good graces. Democratically governed Taiwan has been a central issue among the territorial disputes, especially after the Trump administrationâs growing ties with the islandâs pro-independence President Tsai Ing-Wen.
China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since Chiang Kai-shekâs Nationalist government fled to Taipei in 1949, and the Communist Party regards the island as a province to be taken by force if necessary.
Hong Kong and Macau â" also requested by the aviation authority to be referred to as Chinese territories â" are special administrative regions that enjoy greater autonomy.
Airlines feared a failure to comply would result in some kind of commercial penalty from China, which would threaten the carriersâ operating conditions in the countryâs fast-growing aviation market.
Air India Ltd. chose to rename Taiwan as Chinese Taipei on its website after the threat of a âheftyââ penalty for non-compliance, spokesman Praveen Bhatnagar told Bloomberg News.
Chinaâs forei gn ministry didnât respond to a fax sent Tuesday seeking comment. The Civil Aviation Administration of China, or CAAC, also didnât respond to an email seeking comment. Last week, Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, said the countryâs position on the topic was âclear-cut.â
âAny foreign enterprise operating in China should abide by Chinese laws and regulations just as Chinese enterprises in foreign countries should abide by foreign laws and regulations,â she said last week. âThe one-China principle is a basic fact and common sense.â
In early May, the White House had dismissed Chinaâs directive to the airlines as âOrwellian nonsense,â adding it was part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on U .S. citizens and private companies.
âWe would oppose a governmentâs demand on private corporations that private corporations label something the way that the government demands it to do that,â said Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman for the State Department. She referred questions about the airlines to the individual companies.
Last year, airlines made 7.95 million flights between China and the U.S., a 5.8 percent increase. United, Air China and China Eastern together account for more than 50 percent of the market share, followed by China Southern. Hainan Air replaced Delta as the fifth-largest carrier on this route amid its aggressive launch of direct flights from second-tier Chinese cities to the U.S.
Delta resumed its daily flight between Atlanta and Shanghai on July 20, citing its commercial links with China Eastern Airlines Corp. Delta holds about a 3.5 percent stake in China Eastern; American invested $200 million last year for a similarly sized share of China Southern Airlines Co.
âPrivate companies should be free to conduct their usual business operations free from political pressure of governments,ââ Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said after flag carrier Qantas bowed to the demand.Source: Google News Taiwan | Netizen 24 Taiwan