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USA clothing retailer Gap has apologised to China over a T-shirt with a map showing the mainland but omitting Taiwan, becoming the latest foreign firm to run afoul of Beijing's policy on the self-ruling island.

Photographs of a T-shirt that the clothes brand had apparently sold in Canada were circulating on China's Internet, with many online comments saying that southern Tibet, Taiwan and the South China Sea were missing.

The US company issued its apology on Weibo late Monday, saying it "respects the integrity of China's sovereignty and territory". "We are doing internal checks to correct the mistake as soon as possible", Gap said.

Gap did not say if the product would be pulled from other markets where it is being sold.

The company said it strictly abides by Chinese law and will devote itself to greater scrutiny to avoid similar errors in the future.

The photos were taken at a Gap shop in Canada's Niagara region, Global Times said.

China noted Gap's apology and "will follow carefully their actions and remarks later on", Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a daily briefing in Beijing.




"We have noticed this (Gap) statement and we will pay close attention to it", Lu said.

In January, Chinese authorities blocked Marriott's websites and apps for nearly a week after the company listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as separate countries in emails and applications.

The name change came in the wake of letters sent by China's Civil Aviation Administration in late April, pressuring 36 American and global airlines to remove references to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as countries on their websites and marketing materials.

Delta Air Lines, hotel operator Marriott and fashion brand Zara are among businesses that have apologized to China for referring to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet as countries on websites or promotional material.

China's strong-arming of United States businesses prompted a harsh response from the White House last week.

The losing KMT fled to Taiwan in 1949 after the civil war and China claims the self-ruled island as an inviolable part of its territory.


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