China reiterates foreign enterprises' respect for its sovereignty, territorial integrity

Exclusive White House criticises Chinese pressure on foreign airlines

China reiterates foreign enterprises' respect for its sovereignty, territorial integrity

"We urge foreign companies to respect China's territorial integrity and sovereignty, respect Chinese laws and the feelings of the Chinese people".

China's initial request asked worldwide airlines to remove references on their websites, or in other material, that suggests Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau are in any way independent from China.

A statement by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang on Sunday said the USA comments would not change the fact there was only one China in the world and "Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions are an inalienable part of China's territory".

The Chinese government sent a threatening letter on April 25 to dozens of worldwide airlines warning that they would face severe consequences if they failed to identify Taiwan as a part of China, according to The Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the letter.

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Those airlines included American carriers, and the White House response on Saturday was swift, reports Reuters.

China is threatening foreign airlines with a version of the social credit system that is being implemented domestically, where more than seven million Chinese citizens have been deemed "untrustworthy".

China views the democratic island as a renegade part of its territory and has not ruled out the use of force to bring it back into the fold if necessary.

The Chinese government continues to insist that foreign airlines operating in the country should not refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as entities independent from China, even though the White House has labeled this move "Orwellian nonsense". Hong Kong and Macau are former European colonies that are now part of China but run largely autonomously.

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The White House says it will resist Chinese efforts to make the world bend to its will.

"[President] Xi Jinping has been building up expectations over the past five or six years, so China has to show it is a big power, with a big say in world affairs, and can defend its interests", he said.

Beijing wants all references to the three territories to identify that they are part of China.

Koji Nagata, United Airlines' director for Asia-Pacific corporate communications, told the Post, however, that the company had passed the letter on to the White House. As China is home to one of the largest aviation markets in the world, many companies are concerned about being forced out of the growing market.

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In January, Delta Air Lines, following a demand from China to change its listing of Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website, apologised for making "an inadvertent error with no business or political intention".

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