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Taiwan thanks U.S. House for supporting country's ICAO bid

2012/09/12 13:50:37

Taipei, Sept. 12 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed appreciation Wednesday to the United States House of Representatives for supporting Taiwan's bid to participate in the International Civil Aviation Organization.

On Tuesday in Washington D.C., the House passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 17 on "Expressing the sense of Congress that Taiwan should be accorded observer status in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)."

It represented final legislative approval of the resolution that was passed by the Senate in September 2011, and the move was hailed by Taiwan's Foreign Ministry.

"This shows that the U.S. Congress attaches great importance to and supports Taiwan's participation in the international community," the ministry said in a statement.

The resolution, initiated by Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) in May 2011, states that Taiwan's participation in the ICAO will contribute to the success of a global strategy to address aviation security threats based on effective international cooperation.

It urges the U.S. government to "take a leading role in garnering international support for the granting of observer status to Taiwan in the ICAO for the purpose of such participation" and asks the State Department to brief Congress on U.S government efforts on the issue.

Though "sense of Congress" resolutions are not legally binding, passage of the resolution offered a symbolic morale boost to Taiwan, which is not a U.N. member and is dependent on support from other countries to gain observer status in the U.N. specialized agency.

The major obstacle to Taiwan's bid has been China, which considers self-governed Taiwan part of its territory and has consistently refused to recognize the country's right to join the agency.

But last week, Chinese President Hu Jintao hinted at some movement in Beijing's position in a meeting with former Vice President Lien Chan on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum's Leaders' Meeting in Vladivostok, Russia.

Hu promised that China would "seriously study" the possibility of helping Taiwan participate in the ICAO "in an appropriate way."

(By Lin Shu-yuan and Lilian Wu)