This is exactly why Taiwan is considering renaming China Airlines. A pro-Trump campaign ad attacks former Vice President Joe Biden for failing to support ban on travel from China with a China Airlines plane beside Biden.
"Travel Ban." pic.twitter.com/mmPrj6FbIS
— America First Ads (@AmericaFirstAds) May 1, 2020
By the way, I criticized the China travel ban as having come too late, just as the ban on European arrivals came after that barn door had been open for a month. In other words, not because travel bans aren’t ever appropriate, but because it took too long to act to be effective. Biden is quoted in the ad as saying a China travel ban wouldn’t stop the virus, and that was in fact correct.
Mainland China sees Taiwan as a rogue province but part of its nation. Until Hong Kong protests last year there were attempts at rapprochement suggesting ‘one country two systems’ could work there. Those hopes were largely dashed by what’s perceived in Taiwan to be China’s walking away from its commitments to allow for Hong Kong to be run independently and respect civil liberties.
Taiwan is the Republic of China, originating as a government in exile that planned to one day retake the mainland. To many older members of the community it is China and so referring to their flag carrier as China Airlines makes sense. Nonetheless confusing Air China and China Airlines is easy to do for a lay person, but not something that should be done in the name of a world leader.
On the other hand perhaps it’s cunning strategy, to play public hardball over issues like coronavirus while sending Straussian messages to the Chinese leadership that you’re open to viewing Taiwan as part of China. It’s textbook, as Marcus Giamatti explained in the incredible but short-lived sitcom Flying Blind: