Pentagon issues correction after document labels Taiwan as part of China

Politics

Chinese officials aren’t the only ones sensitive about labeling/mislabeling Taiwan as an independent territory/part of mainland China. The U.S. Department of Defense temporarily removed a published report, the Nuclear Posture Review, over the weekend after someone noticed Taiwan was included on a colored-in map of mainland China:

When asked by the Japan Times on Saturday, a Pentagon spokesperson admitted the error. A corrected version was posted several hours after the initial report was published on Friday.

Here’s how the graphic looks now:

“U.S. policy toward Taiwan has remained consistent throughout seven presidential administrations, and is based on the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the three joint U.S.-China communiques, and the Six Assurances,” the Pentagon spokesperson told Japan Times, with the Department of Defense adding that the error would not affect U.S.’s stance on Taiwan.

It’s unclear whether this latest incident, minor as it may be, will reverberate in China. A handful of foreign companies angered Chinese consumers (and government officials) in recent weeks for not recognizing Taiwan in maps of mainland China. Marriott, Delta, and Zara all made that mistake, with Marriott making a very public apology that elicited backlash from home and abroad. And as SupChina editor-in-chief Jeremy Goldkorn noted last Wednesday, “The People’s Republic has always exerted tight control over maps and names of geographical features within its borders,” with Japanese retailer Muji recently forced to pull a China catalog for not including the Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands 钓鱼岛 in a map.

The Nuclear Posture Review, which is available here, was commissioned by Donald Trump shortly after he took office last year — about a month after he vexed China by taking a phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. In doing so, Trump became the first U.S. president or president-elect since 1979 to speak directly to a Taiwanese leader.