Chinese President Hu Jin-tao (胡錦濤) said yesterday that China would “seriously study” the possibility of helping Taiwan participate in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) “in an appropriate way.”
Hu made the remark in a meeting with former Taiwanese vice president Lien Chan (連戰) on the sidelines of the leaders’ meeting of the APEC forum, in response to issues of Taiwan’s international participation.
Despite its vague wording, it was by far the most explicit expression of Beijing’s stance on Taiwan’s ICAO bid since Taipei began pushing the issue in 2009.
At a news conference held after the meeting, Lien described Hu’s remark as a goodwill gesture from Beijing that marks the beginning of a new opportunity because it “opens the doors” for Taiwan’s ICAO bid.
However, he said that the goal is “not immediately accessible” and added that Taiwan will make sure it becomes a responsible participant and would work toward participation step by step in accordance with ICAO requirements.
In 2008, Taiwan was able to attend the World Health Assembly — the decisionmaking arm of the WHO — and has been able to attend as an observer since May 2009.
Asked about the possibility of Taiwan gaining WHO membership and accession to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Lien said he had not been authorized to discuss those issues with Hu.
It is the fifth time that Lien is attending the APEC summit on behalf of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who cannot be allowed to attend in person due to China’s objections.