Giving In to China, U.S. Airlines Drop Taiwan (in Name at Least)

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A spokeswoman for American Airlines, Shannon Gilson, said that the airline a�?is implementing changes to address Chinaa��s request.a�?

a�?Air travel is global business, and we abide by the rules in countries where we operate,a�? Ms. Gilson said in an email.

Frank Benenati, a spokesman for United, said in an email that the company a�?abides by and respects local laws and regulations in all markets and jurisdictionsa�? where it operates, and that it did not expect the website changes to affect any flights.

Susannah Thurston, a Delta spokeswoman, said in an email statement that the airline was a�?in the process of implementing website changesa�? and would a�?remain in close consultation with the U.S. governmenta�? throughout the process.

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At a regular Chinese Foreign Ministry briefing on Wednesday, a ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said, a�?We have noticed that so far some positive developments have been made around this matter, and the foreign airlines have made corrections.a�?

a�?We welcome their investments in China,a�? he added.

Under President Xi Jinping, China has been increasing pressure on Taiwan. The islanda��s president, Tsai Ing-wen, has called on the international community to a�?constraina�? China. On Tuesday, the East Asian Olympic Committee revoked its decision to host the 2019 East Asian Youth Games in Taichung, a city in Taiwan, bowing to Chinese pressure, according to news reports.

A growing number of American companies have in recent months tried to appease Beijing. In January, the authorities in Shanghai temporarily shut down the website of the hotel chain Marriott International for labeling Taiwan and Tibet, a region of China, as separate countries. In May, the clothing retailer Gap also issued an apology to China after a map on a T-shirt sold in North America did not depict Taiwan as part of China.