Taiwan's parliament passed a proposal on Wednesday to rename the island's largest airline to avoid confusion with airlines in mainland China.
China Airlines (CAL) is often confused with Air China – the mainland's national airline – and there have long been calls to rename it or make Taiwanese clearer.
But the movement received new impetus during the coronavirus pandemic that Taiwan has successfully tackled.
The self-governing island, as a diplomatic gesture of goodwill, often on China Airlines airplanes, has sent medical aid overseas and has caused some public confusion abroad about where the shipments came from.
On Wednesday, lawmakers approved a proposal asking the Department of Transportation to develop both short- and long-term rebranding plans for the partially state-owned airline.
"The ministry should make CAL internationally identifiable with Taiwanese imagery to protect Taiwan's national interests as it is believed overseas to be a Chinese airline," said MP Yu Shyi-kun as the proposal was read.
No timeline for renaming the airline was set in the application as further discussions would be required.
Some critics warn that renaming the airline China could provoke – especially if specific references to Taiwan are added.
Beijing regards Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to take it one day, if necessary by force.
In any case, it strikes that the island is not part of "one China".
Increased military threats
The name China Airlines is a relapse after the Chinese Civil War when the defeated Kuomintang (KMT) nationalists fled to Taiwan.
Your Republic of China – Taiwan's official name – has established itself as a rival to the People's Republic of China.
During the authoritarian KMT era, many Taiwanese companies often had the words "China" or "Chinese" in their names.
Taiwan has since developed into one of the most advanced democracies in Asia, and a clear Taiwanese identity has emerged.
Another proposal passed on Wednesday called on the island to "further improve the visibility of" Taiwan "in our passports."
Taiwanese passports currently say "Republic of China. Taiwan".
A proposal by a minority party to remove the term "Republic of China" was not accepted.
Beijing has increased diplomatic, economic and military pressure since 2016 because current President Tsai Ing-wen refuses to recognize the concept that Taiwan is part of a "one China."
Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told reporters on Wednesday that China had stepped up its saber rattle and that jets flew into the island's air defense zone "almost daily" last month.
He warned that China could "use outside conflicts to solve its internal problems," such as the recent floods, the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, and a slowing economy.
"We are very concerned that Taiwan can be a very convenient scapegoat for China," he said.
"Taiwan's government is very careful with these issues … to avoid Taiwan becoming an excuse to declare war or start a military conflict."
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)