The US House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill on Tuesday calling on US Secretary of State John Kerry to “develop and execute” a strategy ensuring that Taiwan is granted observer status at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
“There is an urgent need to ensure that Taiwan has real-time access to air safety information,” said US Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The bill states that Taiwan should be granted a “seat at the table” for the upcoming ICAO meeting in September.
“Taiwan’s unique political status has thus far hindered its inclusion in ICAO,” Royce said.
“With this piece of legislation, we are sending a message that air safety is a priority and not a geopolitical issue — Taiwan is a beacon of freedom in the Asia-Pacific region,” Royce said.
American Samoa Delegate to the US House of Representatives Eni Faleomavaega said that Taiwan had been “shut out” from participating in international organizations like ICAO and that the nation deserved to be “brought in” as an observer.
“It’s the right thing to do,” he said.
US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a former chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said the bill was an “excellent piece of legislation.”
“Taiwan is one of our most valued allies,” she said.
Ros-Lehtinen said that Taiwan had become a major hub for international air travel, with almost 1.3 million flights passing over the region each year.
“Due to the ill-advised appeasement of China at the United Nations, Taiwan must receive its international aviation safety and security information second hand,” she said.
“Taiwan’s exclusion from international organizations like ICAO is a short-sighted and dangerous practice,” Ros-Lehtinen said.
She said that it harmed the international community as much as it harmed the Taiwanese themselves.
“Preventing an international player like Taiwan from participating in ICAO threatens the entire international community,” she said.
“Unfortunately, attempts to placate China at the feeble UN are nothing new and are a reminder that that organization lacks seriousness,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “China’s threat that foreign interference will hurt negotiations with Taiwan to allow its participation in ICAO should be ignored.”
“The next meeting of ICAO is this September, and I expect to see our State Department have a strategy that they will implement to make sure that Taiwan will be at the table,” Ros-Lehtinen said.
“You know the old saying: If you are not at the table, you are on the menu,” Faleomavaega said. “Well, Taiwan has been on the menu for too long and they need to be at the table.”
“It is time we readmit Taiwan into ICAO — it is time we fixed this problem,” Royce said.
In Taipei yesterday, UK Representative to Taiwan Chris Wood said the UK will support Taiwan’s participation in the ICAO if the ICAO can find a way for Taiwan to participate in the organizational practically and pragmatically.
Taiwan’s participation is affected by the fact that it is not a member of the UN.
“But we are supportive where practical and pragmatic way can be found for Taiwan’s participation in relevant international organizations where there is benefit to the international community for Taiwan being involved in the organizations,” Wood said.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
RIVERSIDE CAMP: As rescuers continued their search for a missing man, Taipower said that the floodgates at a hydro plant on the Lishi Creek opened due to a malfunction Three people have been confirmed dead and one was missing after being swept away by a flash flood while camping in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), police said yesterday. Six people from two families were camping near Lishi Creek (栗栖溪) when the riverbanks were suddenly flooded just after 4am, carrying away four of the campers — including two children — who were asleep in their tents, police said. A man who was among those swept away was able to climb ashore and call for help, police said, adding that another man had gone missing in the turmoil at the campsite.
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient