Taiwan's inclusion in ICAO vital to regional aviation safety: Officials

09/27/2022 05:26 PM
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CNA photo Sept. 27, 2022
CNA photo Sept. 27, 2022

Montreal, Sept. 26 (CNA) The continued incursions by Chinese military aircraft into the skies near Taiwan pose a threat to its aviation safety and that of neighboring countries, which makes it imperative for Taiwan to be included in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Taiwanese government officials said Monday.

While some countries might think that Taiwan's wish to join the ICAO is a political issue, the recent developments in the Taiwan Strait clearly indicate that international civil aviation safety transcends politics and is vital to the safety of all passengers, Taiwan's representative to Canada Tseng Ho-jen (曾厚仁) said prior to the ICAO Assembly in Montreal.

The security of the Taipei Flight Information Region (FIR) was heavily threatened by the military exercises China conducted around Taiwan shortly after a visit to Taipei by United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August, Tseng said.

The international community should understand that China's military exercises were clearly in violation of ICAO regulations and also compromised Taiwan's aviation safety and that of neighboring countries, Tseng said at a press conference in Montreal.

Those military exercises so close to Taiwan were a major development, and they should be discussed at the ICAO Assembly meeting, said Tseng, who is part of a Taiwanese government delegation campaigning in Montreal for Taiwan's inclusion in the ICAO.

Leader of the delegation Lin Jiunn-liang (林俊良), who is deputy director-general of Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration, said Taiwan is the sole managing authority of the Taipei FIR, which provided services to 72 million passengers in 2019 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taiwanese commercial airlines rank among the best in the world, and Taiwan is willing to contribute to global aviation safety, Lin said, appealing for the country's inclusion in the ICAO.

Since 2013, Taiwan has not been invited to ICAO meetings, and it has been left out of the 41st ICAO Assembly, which is being held Sept. 27 to Oct. 7 in Montreal, where the organization is headquartered.

Lin's delegation, however, held sideline bilateral discussions Monday with representatives of Taiwan's diplomatic allies and like-minded countries before the start of the ICAO assembly.

After one of those discussions, Paraguayan Felix Kanazawa said that as head of his country's National Directorate of Civil Aviation, he thinks it is essential to support Taiwan's bid for inclusion in the ICAO as an observer.

Paraguay, one of the 193 ICAO member states and a diplomatic ally of Taiwan, will speak at the assembly in favor of Taiwan's participation, given the important role Taiwan plays in the global aviation industry and its ability to contribute meaningfully to the ICAO, he said.

Meanwhile, Saint Lucia, another diplomatic ally of Taiwan, plans to advocate for the latter's membership in the ICAO, according to Saint Lucia Consul General to Canada Henry Mangal.

Taiwan should not be excluded from the ICAO, which is the largest and most important aviation safety organization globally, Mangal stressed, after a meeting with the Taiwanese delegation.

Also Monday, the Taiwanese delegation hosted a dinner in Montreal, which was attended by representatives to the ICAO from Canada, Japan, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, the European Union, and the United States, including Brent Christensen, chargé d'affaires of the U.S. Mission to ICAO and former director of the American Institute in Taiwan.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Evelyn Kao)


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