China Taiwan relations: Air India now refers East Asian country as Chinese Taipei; here is why

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New Delhi | Updated: July 5, 2018 7:57:33 AM

Civil Aviation Authority of China issued the direction on April 25, just two days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan.

Air India

With an aim to avoid any possible diplomatic repercussions with China, Air India has started referring to Taiwan as Chinese Taipei. The move by the national carrier came two months after Civil Aviation Authority of China directed the airlines to make the change. If one scrolls through Air India website, he/she will find “Taipei, Taoyuan International Airport, TPE, Chinese Taipei”. Apart from Air India, other prominent airlines like Delta Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines and Air Canada have followed the instruction to avoid any conflict, according to Indian Express report.

Civil Aviation Authority of China issued the direction on April 25, just two days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan. While the US State Department had raised concerns over the development to Chinese authorities in Beijing, New Delhi chose not to make any drastic move, the IE report said.

“Regarding websites, we object to Beijing dictating how US firms, including airlines, organize their websites for ease of consumer use. Chinese companies’ websites operate freely and without political interference in the United States,” a State Department official had told Business Insider. The State Department also said it “will consider taking appropriate action if necessary in response to unfair Chinese actions.”

While Taiwan has always maintained that it’s a democratic and self-ruled country in East Asia, China considers it as its integral part. According to the “One China” policy, Beijing considers Taiwan a province of China. New Delhi accepts the One China policy, though it has not explicitly stated the fact in bilateral joint statements in recent years.

Recent Chinese authority’s move of calling “Chinese Taipei” is to send a stringent message to the international community over recognition of Taiwan as a country. Since Beijing is unhappy with other countries maintaining diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the Indian government maintains an office as the India-Taipei Association. In fact, Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale has served at this office in Taiwan in the past.

Earlier in January this year, Taiwan had demanded China immediately close new flight routes launched close to the island, calling it a “reckless” and politically motivated move. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) had announced that it is opening four routes to help ease congestion in its airspace over the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island from mainland China. But Taipei categorically said Beijing had not consulted it over the move which “ignores flight safety and disrespects Taiwan.”

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