Thu, Jul 28, 2011 - Page 2 News List

US Senate supports Taiwan’s role in regional aviation

Staff Writer, with CNA, Washington

The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations passed a resolution on Tuesday in support of Taiwan’s observer status in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The committee approved the resolution, initiated by Democratic Senator Robert Menendez who served as a co-chair of the Senate Taiwan Caucus, by a voice vote.

Taiwan’s representative office in the US said in a statement that the resolution showed the importance attached to this issue by the US Congress.

The committee argued that the exclusion of Taiwan from the ICAO has prevented the organization from developing a truly global strategy to address security threats.

Permitting Taiwan to participate in ICAO meetings and activities as an observer, the resolution said, would not only facilitate realization of the organization’s goals but also better protect aviation security through closer international cooperation. The resolution urged the US government to take the lead in seeking international support for Taiwan’s ICAO observer status and required the US Department of State to consult or brief Congress on its efforts.

The committee took note of Taiwan’s importance to aviation services in the region. The Taipei Flight Information Region, under the jurisdiction of Taiwan, covers 176,000 square nautical miles (603,700 square kilometers) of airspace and provides air traffic control services to more than 1.35 million flights annually.

It also pointed to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport as the world’s 8th and 18th largest airport by international cargo volume and by number of international passengers respectively.

Many US senators, including Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl, co-initiated the resolution.

It was not the first time the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations had taken a stand on Taiwan’s participation in the international community. The committee passed a resolution in 2004 supporting Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly — the decision-making body at the WHO — as an observer.

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