Taiwan to fight back against Chinese pressure on name: report

2018/06/18 23:37:23 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
David Lee
(CNA file photo)

David Lee (CNA file photo)

Taipei, June 18 (CNA) Taiwan has planned measures to counter Beijing's pressure on airlines to describe Taiwan as a part of China, including pursuing legal action and encouraging a boycott of the carriers that comply, according to a Financial Times report Monday.

"We will tell our people: 'Those are the airlines that caved in to China, it is your choice [whether to use them],'" David Lee (李大維), secretary-general of Taiwan's National Security Council, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Lee said initiatives to fight Beijing's "excessive" aggressiveness could also include legal action against companies that labeled Taiwan as part of China, according to the report published Monday.

The security official said pursuing legal action against the companies involved would be a complex process and "may take two to three years" to obtain a ruling, the Financial Times reported.

"It is a signal that we are fighting back, that we won't just sit idle here," Lee was quoted as saying.

The name changes have come in the wake of a letter sent by China's Civil Aviation Administration in late April, pressuring 36 international airlines to identify Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong as part of China.

Several airlines, including Air Canada and Lufthansa, have already complied, referring to Taiwanese destinations such as Taipei as being in Taiwan, China or Taiwan, CN.

Asked by CNA about the reported plans later Monday, Presidential Office spokesperson Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said China has resorted to intimidation to eliminate Taiwan's name from the international community and threatened Taiwan and the region militarily.

Yet, there is growing evidence that whatever actions China has taken, "it will in no way change the fact that Taiwan is a country or shake the belief in freedom and democracy upheld by Taiwan's people," Lin said.

"On the contrary, China will only increase the (psychological) distance across the Strait," Lin said.

China's demands of international airlines has infringed on the freedom and rights of the companies and people in the countries where the carriers are based, and it may result in a loss of respect and hope for China internationally, Lin said.

In the Financial Times report, American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James Moriarty was quoted as saying that Beijing appeared to be trying to create "the impression that a fact exists, that does not exist."

"It is an unfortunate interference in commercial matters to prove a political point that at its core is not accurate. Taiwan is not a province of the People's Republic of China," Moriarty was quoted as saying.

In a statement issued by the White House on May 5, the United States government slammed China's demand as "Orwellian nonsense" and said it deemed the request "Chinese political correctness."

"China's internal internet repression is world-famous. China's efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted," the statement said.

(By Ko Lin)
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