Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Air Canada Denies Link between Air China Joint Venture and New Label for Taiwan

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Air Canada Denies Link between Air China Joint Venture and New Label for Taiwan

Article excerpt

Air Canada and Air China sign joint venture

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MONTREAL - Air Canada's decision to label Taiwan's capital as being part of China has nothing to do with the joint venture with a Chinese national carrier that was signed Wednesday, says chief executive Calin Rovinescu.

Discussions about closer co-operation have been going on for years, long before Air Canada changed its reference to Taipei on its website after the Chinese government wrote to several airlines and western companies seeking the change.

"One's got nothing to do with the other," Rovinescu has been quoted telling reporters following the signing ceremony in Beijing.

"I'm not getting into Taipei. Today is not a day for discussions on Taipei," he said.

It's inconceivable that Air Canada's change of approach to Taiwan has nothing to do with the joint venture to a country that is a key part of the airline's growth strategy, said Charles Chang, president of the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce of British Columbia.

"They can't withstand the pressure of not making a lot of money because with this deal they're making a lot of money," he said from Vancouver.

Chang said he's also not pleased that unlike the U.S. government, Canada hasn't been unwilling to denounce China's move, saying instead that it won't intervene in what it calls a business policy.

"I'm very disappointed because I'm a Canadian. Not only am I Taiwanese, I'm also Canadian."

In a letter of protest sent to Air Canada last month, Chang said listing Taipei with a CN country code signifying China is not correct and misleading to travellers.

"Although officially Taiwan is the Republic of China, however as a separate political entity it is internationally referring to as TW, TWN or just Taiwan," he wrote.

Chang has said the airline could face a boycott from Taiwanese travellers on a route between Vancouver and Taipei that was started last June. …

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