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China has no right to represent Taiwan in ICAO: MOFA

2019/04/10 22:59:44

MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) / CNA file photo

Taipei, April 10 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) called Wednesday for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to invite Taiwan to participate in an upcoming assembly session, noting that China has no right to represent Taiwan.

MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said that ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin's response to a media enquiry about whether the country will be invited to the 40th ICAO Assembly session Sept. 24-Oct. 4 in Montreal, was "inappropriate" and a deliberate misinterpretation.

Citing Resolution 2758 of the United Nations General Assembly, Philbin told the Apple Online that the ICAO "adopted a resolution in 1971 recognizing the representatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China as the only legitimate representatives of China to ICAO."

"For the almost 50 years since, ICAO has continued to be guided by the UN's One China policy," Philbin wrote in an email to the online news network run by the Apple Daily tabloid.

Passed Oct. 25, 1971 during the 26th session of the U.N. General Assembly, the resolution recognized the PRC as "the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations."

According to Lee, what Philbin referred to only decided upon who is the legitimate representative of China and does not mention Taiwan. Furthermore it does not give China the right to represent Taiwan in the U.N. and its specialized agencies.

Further reiterating that China has no right to represent Taiwan, Lee said that only the democratically elected government of the country can be responsible for the well-being of Taiwan's 23 million people.

MOFA contended that the ICAO, as a professional organization that ensures global flight safety, should not be subject to political interference but instead should be neutral and allow Taiwan to participate in its meetings to prevent any gaps or loopholes in aviation safety.

The ICAO is a U.N. specialized agency responsible for establishing worldwide aviation policies, with ICAO Assembly serving as the organization's sovereign body that meets once every three years.

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 U.N. to Beijing in 1971.

However, Taiwan was not invited to the 39th ICAO Assembly in 2016, with opposition from Beijing widely believed to be the main reason for the lack of an invitation.

(By Elaine Hou and William Yen)
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