Japanese airlines' two-faced trick won't fly
Chinese aviation experts strongly criticized a U.S. media report that suggests the way Japanese airlines are describing Taiwan can provide a reference to other foreign airlines.
Experts stressed the Japanese airlines' two-faced behavior is "never acceptable."
Starting from June 12, Japan's two largest airlines - Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) - changed Taiwan listing on their websites for the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, while their websites for other countries still show Taiwan in the category of countries, said the U.S. Business Insider in a report on Monday.
The move "could provide a roadmap for other foreign companies," the report said.
Lin Zhijie, an independent analyst, told the Global Times Tuesday that "there is not a 'roadmap' at all," comparing the Japanese airlines' trick to an ostrich hiding its head in the sand. He said the airlines are "taking further steps on the wrong path."
"For foreign airlines operating in China, the biggest principle is to comply with Chinese laws, in this case, adhering to the one-China policy," Lin said, noting the Japanese firms' two-faced behavior is, in essence, illegal.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press briefing in early June that any foreign company operating in the Chinese market should comply with Chinese laws and regulations, and respect and adhere to the one-China policy, which is not only common sense, but also the general consensus of the international community.
A spokesman at ANA said the change was intended to make the description "easy to understand and acceptable for customers when they use our websites," according to an AFP report on June 19.
Lin said that the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) will evaluate the changes after the deadline passes. If the Japanese airlines don't change their approach, "They're likely to face business restrictions in China."
On April 25, CAAC asked 44 foreign airlines to modify references to Taiwan on their websites and maps to indicate it is a region of China within 30 days. The deadline has been extended to July 25.
Zhang Baoxin, an expert at China Aviation News, told the Global Times Tuesday that "it is impossible for China to accept the Japanese carriers' approach."
"A foreign company operating in China must comply with the government's rules. This is an issue of sovereignty. There is no room to negotiate," Zhang stressed.
As of May 25, the CAAC said, 18 of the airlines had made the required changes. The remaining carriers have requested extensions due to technical reasons.
Australia's Qantas Airways said it will meet the requirements despite some technical delays and complete the corrections by the deadline, according to AFP.
However, three U.S. carriers - United Airlines, Delta and American Airlines - have not yet showed their intention to make changes.
"Most foreign airlines are ramping up efforts to meet the one-China policy by adjusting their description, but for the U.S. airlines, it's hard to say if they'll meet the deadline amid China-U.S. trade frictions," Lin said.