Taipei lodges complaint after Apple Maps lists Taiwan as part of ChinaBy Dominic Dietrich Oct 30, 2013 1:41PM UTC
By Dominic Dietrich
Apple’s mapping software has had its run of hiccups and its recent iteration has continued the trend with Taiwan’s government complaining this week after the map app listed the country as being part of China.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday that they had contacted Apple over the politically contentious issue. The ministry said Taiwan was listed as “Taiwan Province, China” in simplified characters, CNA reported.
Taiwan’s The Liberty Times noted that if a person searches for the “Republic of China Presidential Office” (Taiwan’s official name is Republic of China) then the resulting address finishes with “Taipei, Taiwan province, China.”
Much the same happened, the paper reported, if a person searched for the address of the country’s “Mainland Affairs Council,” a Taiwanese body devoted to relations with China.
Independence is a contentious issue in Taiwan. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory; while Taiwan views itself as autonomous of Mainland Chinese control.
The new mapping software comes with Apple’s latest operating systems for both its phones and its computers.
Kelly Hsieh, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of North American Affairs was quoted by CNA as saying, “We’ll make every effort on this issue. No compromise will be made over this of matter.”
Mainland China employs a simplified character system; while Taiwan (as well as Hong Kong and Macau) uses traditional characters.
Taiwanese tabloid Apple Daily conjectured a reason for the mishap, claiming that the Chinese company AutoNavi, which has provided Apple with maps for China and other parts of Asia, always refers to Taiwan as “Taiwan, China.”
Last year, Apple’s mapping software was criticised by Taiwan, this time for showing images of a radar station on the island nation that were too high quality. Taiwan asked that the early warning radar station near Hsinchu airbase be blurred.
Apple is not the first tech company to flounder in the rough waters of Taiwan Strait affairs. In September 2012, Taipei Times reported that Google’s translation software was translating the English for “Taiwan is not a part of China” into the Chinese for “Taiwan is part of China.”
To be fair, Google’s faulty translation was not necessarily making a comment about China’s control of Taiwan, as about the Middle Kingdom’s ownership of the entire world. English translations for “The US is not a part of China” and “South Korea is not a part of China” both came back with claims that they were in fact part of China, reported Taipei Times.
Google now translates the respective English phrases correctly.