China welcomes Air India’s decision to change Taiwan’s name

Air India accedes to Beijing’s demand renames Taiwan ‘Chinese Taipei’ on its website

Indranil Mukherjee AFP

The airline has changed its reference to Taiwan on its website to Chinese Taipei; it now refers to Taiwan airport as "Taipei, Taoyuan International Airport, TPE, Chinese Taipei".

Air India will now refer to Taiwan as Chinese Taipei, becoming the latest airline that has bowed to pressure from China and change how they refer to the self-ruled country.

Taiwan expressed disappointment after national carrier Air India changed "Taiwan" into "Chinese Taipei" on its official website.

Now, while Air India does not service Taiwan directly, it does have a code-sharing agreement with Air China, which means that Air India can sell seats in Air China under its own airline designator. Chung Kwang Tien, the representative, asked Air India to stand up against the unreasonable demand. It is believed that Air India will have taken this step only after discussions with the Ministry of External Affairs. Bowing ahead of China 's demand, Air India has chose to name the Taiwanese Chinese Taipei on its website.

Several global airlines stopped referring to Taiwan as a separate country since the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) directed them on April 25 to change how Taiwan is described on their websites.

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"I want to repeat that respecting China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and obeying Chinese law is the basic principle that foreign companies need to follow in China", Lu said.

"They argue that India's communiqués with China do not mention or support the one-China policy and Indian leaders did not speak explicitly about this policy; therefore, Indian companies do not have to abide by it", it said. And while the United States has discounted warnings from China and called it "Orwellian nonsense", neither India nor Japan have commented on the matter. In this connection, the MEA spokesperson also noted that a People's Liberation Army (PLA) delegation, led by Lt Gen Liu Xiaowu, was now visiting India. "It did not support the separatist movement in Assam province, and hence India should not support the demand for Taiwan independence", the report said.

"The ministry once again calls on the worldwide community to stand up to the Chinese government's abuse of political power and its peremptory measures with inappropriate intentions to meddle in the independent operations of enterprises in various countries", he said. In 2017, India hosted a delegation of parliamentarians from Taiwan, prompting a strong reaction from China, whose state media warned India against "playing with fire".

In summary, China's Civil Aviation Authority has sent a letter to 36 foreign airlines on April 25, 2018, asking them to identify Taiwan as a part of China and not a sovereign country.

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