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President protests ICAO's refusal to invite Taiwan to conference

2016/09/23 13:35:11

Taipei, Sept. 23 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed strong regret and discontent Friday after the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) refused to invite Taiwan to its upcoming triennial assembly, presumably because of China's objection.

The decision is extremely unfair to Taiwan and is a major loss to global aviation safety, Tsai said while receiving a delegation from the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade.

The 39th ICAO assembly will be held Sept. 27-Oct. 7 at the ICAO's headquarters in Montreal, Canada, and Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維) confirmed Friday that Taiwan has not been invited to attend the meeting.

The ICAO is a U.N. 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.

As cross-Taiwan Strait relations have cooled since Tsai took office May 20, opposition from Beijing is widely believed to be the main reason behind the ICAO's decision not to invite Taiwan this year.

(By Sophia Yeh and Y.F. Low; click here for the updated story)
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