Taiwan condemns Beijing’s request to airlines for jeopardizing universal values

In this May 21, 2018, photo, a computer screens display the booking website of British Airways showing "Taiwan-China" in Beijing, China. Global airlines are obeying Beijing's demands to refer to Taiwan explicitly as a part of China, despite the White House's call this month to stand firm against such "Orwellian nonsense." (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Taipei, May 28 (CNA) Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday denounced Beijing’s latest attempt to belittle Taiwan in the global air transport sector as “rude and unreasonable” and said China was guilty of jeopardizing universal values.

In a statement, the ministry said China recently delivered a letter to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 280 of the world’s airlines, and its members to pressure them into belittling Taiwan’s designation on their official website.

Air France cooperated with China’s requirements and listed Taiwan as part of China. (Image taken from Air France)

Taiwan has instructed its relevant overseas offices to make contact with IATA and the airlines concerned and convey to them Taiwan’s unwavering stance of defending its national designation and national dignity, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aeronautics Administration has sent a message to IATA Chairman Alexandre de Juniac expressing Taiwan’s grave concerns and calling on IATA to take actions that will eventually lead China to “correct its wrong practices.”

The ministry urged IATA and governments of other countries to see how rude and unreasonable the Chinese government was by intervening in the operations of private enterprises in other countries.

Such a practice has “jeopardized universal values,” the ministry warned, calling for joint action to defend international enterprises’ freedom from threats.

China’s Civil Aviation Administration in late April sent letters to pressure dozens of American and international airlines to remove references to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as countries on their websites and marketing materials.

The demand was later denounced by the White House as “Orwellian nonsense,” but many of the airlines have complied.

(By Ku Chuan and Elizabeth Hsu)