Ministry calls on India to resist Chinese pressure

Tuesday, 10 Jul, 2018

India's national carrier Air India has fallen in line with China's demand not to refer to Taiwan as a separate country but as Chinese Taipei, which is how Beijing wants it to be known officially.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday instructed the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India to lobby New Delhi to remove "Chinese Taipei" from the destination airport name of Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei from Air India's flight booking website.

"We are reviewing the Civil Aviation Administration of China's request and will remain in close consultation with the U.S. Government throughout this process", Delta said in a statement. That flight is therefore listed on the Air India website, which is why the concern is applicable.

Taiwan on Thursday protested against the renaming of "Taiwan" to "Chinese Taipei" on Air India's website and described the move as a gesture of succumbing to the unreasonable and absurd pressure from China. Code sharing allows an airline to book its passengers on its partner carriers and provide seamless travel to destinations where it has no presence.

Washington has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help it defend itself and is the island's main source of arms.

Until some time ago, Air India on its website called the island as Taiwan, which China considers a breakaway province and has vowed to unite it with mainland someday. The letter also spoke of taking action against the airlines if they did not take action according to the letter. However, the Modi government used to be proud of declaring that they had told off China on India's "one-China" policy, by saying they would support it only when China supported a "one-India" policy.

As of press time, India's Ministry of External Affairs had not commented on the matter. "Some Indian media outlets and scholars believe India has no reason to list Taiwan as part of China, unless China recognizes India's territorial claims". China's economic power has caused global airlines including Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways, Air Canada, Finnair, and Malaysia Airlines to identify Taiwan as "Chinese Taipei". Neither Japan Airlines nor ANA has heard a protest from Taiwan, but Japan's broadcaster, NHK, reported that Taiwan's Foreign Ministery Affairs had filed a complaint as a diplomatic mission in Taipei.