Taipei, Nov. 6 (CNA) Brent Christensen, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), said Tuesday that Taiwan's exclusion from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is contrary to the spirit of the organization and "defies common sense."
Speaking at a dinner for the participants in an international aviation safety conference in Taipei, Christensen said Taiwan is an important member of the global aviation community.
Its main gateway, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, served 46.5 million passengers in 2018 and is ranked 11th in terms of global passengers and fifth for cargo volume, Christensen said, citing data given by Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍).
"Taiwan's civil aviation authority has consistently maintained the highest safety standards and remains a critical partner for the United States in ensuring airline safety for travelers in the region," Christensen said at the dinner for the participants in the first International Air Safety Summit hosted by Taiwan.
However, Taiwan is excluded from ICAO activities because of pressure from China and has no access to the ICAO's secure portal, which means that it does not receive timely notifications of important safety and security findings, Christensen said.
"Taiwan's exclusion from the ICAO not only violates the spirit of the ICAO but also defies common sense," he said, noting that the ICAO's stated goal is to achieve a "seamless sky," where safety standards and counter-terrorism measures can be shared with everyone to ensure that the same standards are applied worldwide.
The annual International Air Safety Summit is being held Nov. 4-6 in Taipei, with the participation of experts from around the world, including representatives from the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and France's Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA).
In March 2018, Deputy Transport Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材), who is also chairman of the Taipei-based China Aviation Development Foundation (CADF), signed a memorandum of understanding with Flight Safety Foundation Vice President Mark Millam for the CADF to host the 72nd annual summit.
Taiwan made a bid to host the summit in 2007 but failed due to pressure from China. This year, no Chinese agencies are represented at the conference.