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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Trump blasts China's aircraft edict as 'Orwellian nonsense'

White House press secretary tells China to 'stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens'

Donald Trump gestures as he walks towards a helicopter waiting on White House lawn. Zach Gibson / EPA
Donald Trump gestures as he walks towards a helicopter waiting on White House lawn. Zach Gibson / EPA

The White House condemned China's efforts to control how US airlines refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, calling the push to make them comply with Chinese standards "Orwellian nonsense".

The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration sent a letter to 36 foreign air carriers on April 25, including some American carriers, demanding that carriers change how Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao are identified on websites and promotional material so references fall in line with the Communist Party’s standards.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders on Saturday said Donald Trump "ran against political correctness" in the United States and as president he will "stand up for Americans resisting efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to impose Chinese political correctness on American companies and citizens."

"We call on China to stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens."

"This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies," Ms Sanders added.

The harshly worded statement comes as a high-level trade delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin returned from negotiations in China.

The Trump administration drew a hard line in trade talks, demanding a $200 billion cut in the Chinese trade surplus with the US, sharply lower tariffs and advanced technology subsidies, people familiar with the talks told Reuters.

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Trump to delay imposing tariffs as the US continues to negotiate deals

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The demands were presented to Beijing before the start of talks between Trump officials and their Chinese counterparts to try to avert a damaging trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

The war of words erupted on Saturday, however.

China’s internal Internet repression is world famous, the White House said in a statement.

"China’s efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted."

"The United States respects the broad freedom private companies have in their interactions with their customers, both in the United States and abroad. This respect is essential for a robust global marketplace."

"The United States strongly objects to China’s attempts to compel private firms to use specific language of a political nature in their publicly available content."