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DPP legislative caucus condemns China over ICAO issue

2016/09/26 21:00:25

Taipei, Sept. 26 (CNA) Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers voiced anger at China for suppressing Taiwan with its "one China" principle and at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for not allowing Taiwan to attend its assembly this year.

Taiwan was not invited to the 39th session of the ICAO Assembly from Sept. 27 to Oct. 7 in Montreal, most likely because of the objections of Beijing, which regularly uses its clout to keep Taiwan out of major international organizations and activities.

In a statement issued on Monday, the DPP's legislative caucus argued that aviation safety is crucial to the safety and welfare of passengers and that the issue should not be addressed differently based on ethnicity or nationality.

Moreover, no political preconditions should color the issue, the statement said.

By ignoring the need to have Taiwan participate, the ICAO has damaged its neutrality and trustworthiness because without Taiwan, it cannot achieve the goal of a "seamless sky" to guarantee aviation safety, the lawmakers said.

"Mainland China constantly suppresses Taiwan's (international) participation with its 'one China' political framework without any concern for the importance and necessity of aviation safety, and it has seriously hurt the feelings of Taiwan's people," the statement said.

Such practices will also not facilitate the development of cross-Taiwan Strait relations in a positive way, the lawmakers said.

Participating in international organizations and activities constructively based on equality and dignity is the shared hope of Taiwan's people and Taiwan's right and responsibility as part of the international community, the lawmakers said.

The unfair treatment of Taiwan and the deprivation of its right to safety because it chooses democracy will jeopardize the overall interests of the international community, the statement said, adding that Taiwan's people will never accept such treatment.

Meanwhile, opposition Kuomintang caucus whip Liao Kuo-tung (廖國棟) urged President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to try to present a solution to the predicament, which he said was the result of political factors.

A delegation of Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), headed by CAA Deputy Director Ho Shu-ping (何淑萍), arrived in Montreal on Monday, hoping to have the chance to talk with Taiwan-friendly countries outside the venue of the ICAO Assembly.

The seven-member delegation will be interviewed by several media outlets, including the Ottawa Citizen and the Voice of America, during its stay in Montreal.

The group will leave Montreal on Oct. 1.

The ICAO is a United Nations specialized agency responsible for establishing worldwide aviation policies.

In 2013, Taiwan was represented at the 38th ICAO assembly by Shen Chi (沈啟), then-director-general of the Civil Aeronautics Administration, who was invited as a special guest of then-ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez.

That marked Taipei's first representation at the ICAO assembly since losing its seat in the United Nations to Beijing in 1971.

Cross-Taiwan Strait relations have cooled since President Tsai, who doubles as chairwoman of the independence-leaning DPP, took office on May 20, and opposition from Beijing is widely believed to be the main reason behind the ICAO's decision not to invite Taiwan this year.

Beijing has taken a harder line against Taiwan because the new administration has not agreed to accept the idea that Taiwan and China belong to one China as the political foundation for cross-strait dialogue and exchanges.

With Taiwanese representatives shut out of the ICAO Assembly, Taiwanese media were also barred from entering the ICAO venue.

Hu Yu-li, a CNA reporter stationed in Toronto, had applied for a press pass for the assembly online, but the ICAO refused to give it to her when she went to the agency's Montreal headquarters to pick it up because she represented Taiwanese media.

(By Justine Su, Wang Cheng-chun, Hu Yu-li and Elizabeth Hsu)