Taiwan will disappear from airline websites

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United and Delta are the last airlines to change the way in which they refer to the island on their websites.

American Airlines Group has confirmed that it has changed the way its website refers to Taiwan, a move that should be followed by two other major US carriers in an effort to avoid Chinese sanctions.

On the American Airlines website now appear the rebel island airports, accompanied by the airport identification code, but not the country they belong to.

The White House described the Chinese request as “Orwellian nonsense”.

The deadline will expire on Wednesday. China last month rejected US requests for talks on the matter, adding to tensions already raised by an escalating trade war triggered by Donald Trump.

Like other American carriers, the group is implementing the changes required by the Chinese government, mandatory to continue operating on Chinese soil.

Hawaiian Airlines had already changed its website before the deadline,  so that searches for flights to Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, appeared as “Taipei, Taipei” in dropdown menus.

United Airline and Delta still included references to Taiwan at least until Tuesday.

The US Department of State did not immediately comment on the situation.

Many non-US airlines, including Air Canada, Lufthansa, British Airways and Qantas, have already made changes to their sites after China sent a letter to 36 foreign air carriers this year.

The announcement came as China further increased pressure on the self-ruled island of Taiwan considered by China as part of its territory.

Taiwan currently competes as “Chinese Taipei” at the Olympic Games. The island boycotted the Olympics starting from the 1976 Summer Games until it returned to the 1984 Winter Games, and started participating as Chinese Taipei.

Source: The Guardian

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