Communist China Targets US Airlines Over Taiwan References

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Beijing

Yesterday, China's foreign ministry responded to the White House comments, saying that overseas companies operating in China should respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, follow Chinese law and "respect the national feelings of the Chinese people".

China has hit back at USA claims a push by Beijing to stop foreign airlines referring to Taiwan as a separate state is "Orwellian nonsense". Hong Kong and Macau are former European colonies that are now part of China but run largely autonomously.

Taiwan is China's most sensitive territorial issue.

Earlier the White House criticized China for what the former described as "Orwellian nonsense" after Beijing told U.S. airlines to remove any references from their websites or other material that may suggest that Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau are part of entities independent from China, The Guardian reports, citing USA government and airline officials.

"No matter what the United States says, it can not change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world and that Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are indivisible parts of Chinese territory", spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement on the ministry website. "We call on China to stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens".

In its own statement, the Trump administration called Beijing's efforts "Orwellian nonsense" that is "part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies".

On Monday, the USA embassy in Beijing joined the war of words by publishing a version of the White House statement in Mandarin on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

"You would expect the Chinese government to retaliate, such as shutting down websites or banning certain routes ... but there is no reason why these companies wouldn't comply because their priority is to the shareholders, not to abide by U.S. government foreign policy", said Wolf, who is now the Hong Kong-based senior emerging market economist for Aberdeen Standard Investment.

In their telephone conversation on Saturday, Pompeo and Politburo member Yang Jiechi "affirmed the importance of a constructive, results-oriented bilateral relationship", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

The spat comes shortly after a high-level United States delegation returned from two days in Beijing with little to show for talks aimed at averting a trade war between the world's two biggest economies. "The websites of both United and American list airports in Taiwan only as 'Taiwan, ' without reference to China", reported Foreign Policy.

Australian carrier Qantas, which also received the letters, had been referring to Taipei as part of Taiwan and was still doing so Monday in the drop-down menu in its booking engine.

Bishop said she hoped the current understanding with China could continue and that her department would continue to liaise closely with Qantas.

In the PATA directory blurb it describes the member from Taiwan as: "The Taiwan Visitors Association, a non-profit organisation, promoting tourism for the Republic of China through both domestic and global activities".

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