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U.S. expresses concerns over China's belittling of Taiwan

ROC Central News Agency

2018/05/01 14:22:53

Washington, April 30 (CNA) The U.S. State Department on Monday expressed concerns over China's ongoing efforts to belittle Taiwan after Beijing demanded that two U.S. airlines remove any reference of Taiwan as a country on their websites.

Such concerns were raised after U.S. media Foreign Policy reported last week that China's Civil Aviation Administration had sent letters to United Airlines and American Airlines, asking them to follow China's restrictions against "separatism."

"On April 27 we raised our strong concerns with Chinese authorities in Beijing regarding their order to airlines," the State Department said in a statement emailed to CNA.

"While we seek a mutually beneficial commercial aviation relationship with China, we will consider taking appropriate action if necessary in response to unfair Chinese actions" the State Department said.

According to the Foreign Policy report, China demanded that the two U.S. carriers' global operations follow China's restrictions against "separatism," which meant that any references to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau as countries independent from China must be removed.

The report said "the strongly worded letter demands that all public-facing content, across the world, must follow Chinese law."

The letters to the two U.S. airlines asked the two airlines to set a timeline to comply with such demands and even threatened that if they fail to obey, they will be referred to "the relevant cyber-security authorities" for punishment.

"We object to Beijing dictating how U.S. firms, including airlines, organize their websites for ease of consumer use," the State Department said in the statement, adding it will keep close contacts with U.S. airlines and agencies.

The State Department emphasized that Chinese companies' websites are able to operate freely and without political interference in the U.S.

After the Foreign Policy report was published last week, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the two U.S. airlines not to give in to pressure from China to change the way Taiwan is listed on their websites.

United Airlines and American Airlines were the latest targets of China's efforts to get companies to change their websites' designation of Taiwan to reflect an association with China.

International companies such as Zara, Marriott, Qantas and Delta have issued apologies to China for listing Taiwan as a country on their websites and have added the word "China" after "Taiwan" on their websites.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Frances Huang)

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