Canada says position on Taiwan designation unchanged

The Canadian government said Tuesday its long-standing position on Taiwan's designation has not changed, and it does not want to see China place pressure on private enterprises to change the name of Taiwan.

Taiwan's representative office in Canada on Tuesday officially lodged a stern protest and asked for a correction immediately after a decision by Air Canada, the country's flag carrier and largest airline, to list Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, as a part of China on its booking website.

The airline capitulated on Monday, changing Taiwan's designation from "Taipei, Taiwan" to "Taipei, China" on pulldown menus on its booking website.

On Tuesday, Frank Lin (???), acting representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada, met with Shawn Steil, executive director of Global Affairs Canada's Greater China Division, asking for the government's help to deal with the issue.

Global Affairs Canada manages Canada's diplomatic and consular relations, promotes the country's international trade and leads Canada's international development and humanitarian assistance.

In response, Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Brittany Vehola-Fletcher said in a statement: "Air Canada is a private company and responsible for the contents of its website. Canada's long-standing position on this issue has not changed."

According to Taiwan's representative office in Canada, a Canadian foreign official told the office that Ottawa does not want to see Beijing put pressure on private enterprises, create tensions across the Taiwan Strait and turn Canada into a battleground between the two sides, but in the end, it happened.

As of last week, the official said, the contents of Air Canada's website were in line with the Canadian government's policy, and the airline was familiar with that policy, under which Canada does not recognize Taiwan as part of China.

In a joint communique issued in October 1970 by Canada and China, the Canadian government simply "takes note" of the Chinese government's position that "Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of the People's Republic of China."

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick defended the move, saying "the carrier's policy is to comply with all requirements in all worldwide jurisdictions to which we fly."

The name change came in the wake of letters sent by China's Civil Aviation Administration in late April to pressure 36 American and international airlines to remove references to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as countries on their websites and marketing materials.

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

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel