China praises Air India action, Taiwan protests to MEA

10 July, 2018, 12:23 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Screenshot of Air India international version

Ambassador Chung Kwang Tien, who heads the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre (TECC) here, said the change of name on the website of the state-owned carrier might impact freedom of doing business. "The decision of Air India is consistent with worldwide norms and our own position on Taiwan since 1949", said spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar.

Air India is the flag carrier of India and operates a flight to Taipei made possible through a code-share agreement with EVA Airways Corp. On Wednesday, Air India had changed the name on its website, following instructions from the government. It is believed that Air India will have taken this step only after discussions with the Ministry of External Affairs. Kumar was referring to the "One China" policy of India.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) sent letters to 36 global airlines in April asking them to remove references to Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong as independent regions.

The passage through the Taiwan Strait, the first such one by a U.S. Navy ship in about a year, follows a series of Chinese military drills around the island that have stoked tensions between Taipei and Beijing.

MOFA has also urged the Indian Ministry of External Affairs' International Trade and Civil Aviation department to reject "political meddling by foreign governments in the independent operations of Indian enterprises". The letter also spoke of taking action against the airlines if they did not take action according to the letter.

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HKFP has contacted Air India for comment. China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, when the defeated Nationalist government fled to the island.

Taiwan has criticized companies for giving in to China's pressure, saying in May that "such acts send a wrong message to the world".

USA overtures towards Taiwan, from unveiling a new de facto embassy to passing the Taiwan Travel Act, which encourages US officials to visit, have further escalated tension between Beijing and Taipei. "It did not support the separatist movement in Assam province, and hence India should not support the demand for Taiwan independence", the report said.

"But if they refuse to make corrections when reminded, they are obviously supporting Taiwan independence and must face possible consequences or could even be thrown out of the Chinese market", it added.

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