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Here’s Why US Airlines Are Changing How They Refer To Taiwan

Travelers Today       By    MJ De Castro

Updated: Jul 29, 2018 04:40 PM EDT

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American, Delta, and United have chosen to change how they refer to Taiwan in its websites due to China’s demand. If airlines don’t comply, it might be facing a sanction in one of the world’s major aviation markets.

(Photo: Bilal EL-Daou | Pixabay)

The three giant U.S. airlines have given in to China's demand to change how they refer to Taiwan before the deadline that was set by Beijing.

Earlier this year, China instructed 44 international airlines and other companies not to distinguish Taiwan as a non-Chinese territory. Currently, Taiwan's status is sensitive as it is considered by Beijing as a province of China.

China's Territorial Claim

Recently, American Airlines, Delta, and United changed its website's booking details to show that Taipei is not listed as part of Taiwan. Now, when its customers choose to fly to Taipei, there is no mention of Taiwan. Before, airlines would offer flights to "Taipei, Taiwan."

According to The People's Daily, the Chinese state newspaper, all 44 airlines in which they issued the demand have complied with its request.

Geng Shuang, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that the country is willing to share the development opportunities in China with foreign companies and encourages them to invest and operate in China.

He added that the government hopes that when they have operations in China, the companies obey the country's laws and rules, sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the feelings of the Chinese people.

Compliance Of Airlines

Furthermore, Shannon Gilson, American Airlines spokeswoman, said that just like other airlines, American has been implementing the changes that were demanded by China. She added that air travel is a global business, and they need to go by the rules in the countries in which they operate.

Cathay Pacific also released a statement where it said that the carrier is a registered airline of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, or HKSAR, of the People's Republic of China. HKSAR is the base of their operation and they must obey with whatever rules and regulations are set by the relevant civil aviation officials.

The issue of Taiwan's label has been a controversial topic for Beijing. However, in recent years, the government has increased their claim in ending perceived violations of its territorial claims.

Since 1949, Taiwan has been self-ruling following the Communist victory on the mainland after the civil war, but China still considers it as a breakaway province which it will reunite with soon.

Moreover, the demand issued by Beijing was dismissed by the White House and was labeled as "Orwellian nonsense." Despite this, carriers all over the world have complied with it rather than being dismissed and shut out by one of the biggest aviation markets in the world.

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