Taiwan on Thursday protested against Air India’s decision to refer to the country as Chinese Taipei on the carrier’s website as demanded by Beijing, news channel Focus Taiwan reported. The island nation of Taiwan governs itself democratically, but China considers it an integral part of its territory.
The Air India website now refers to Taiwan’s airport as “Taipei, Taoyuan International Airport, TPE, Chinese Taipei”. On April 25, the Civil Aviation Authority of China had asked international airlines to change how Taiwan is described on their websites within 30 days, the Hindustan Times reported.
Andrew Lee, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said his ministry has asked its representative in New Delhi to lodge a protest with Air India, the news channel reported. He also said that Taiwan has requested India’s Ministry of External Affairs to not permit “political meddling by foreign governments in the independent operations of Indian enterprises”.
The news channel said an Air India spokesperson had refused to comment on the matter while acknowledging that the change of the name had been approved by the Ministry of External Affairs.
Lee said his ministry will monitor developments on the matter to safeguard “the independent sovereignty and dignity” of Taiwan. He also called on other nations to resist such “interventions from China”.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Center, which represents the Taiwanese government in Delhi, said it has lodged a formal complaint against the name change to the Ministry of External Affairs and is waiting for a response, PTI reported.
The Ministry of External Affairs defended Air India’s move. “Air India’s decision to rename the destination of Taiwan as Chinese Taipei is entirely consistent with international norms and our own position on Taiwan since 1949,” said ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
In June, two Japanese airlines had renamed Taiwan on their websites. The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration had reportedly sent a notice to 36 foreign airlines in April, asking them to comply with Beijing’s standard of referring to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as Chinese territories.