Taiwan is on course to gain membership of the UN-affiliated International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) after China responded “positively” to the bid at the APEC summit, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said on Saturday.
Ma said on his Facebook page that former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), who is attending the 20th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, sent back the good news after meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) who promised to help with Taiwan’s ICAO bid “in an appropriate way.”
Lien was quoted by Ma as saying that “the door [to ICAO] has been opened” to Taiwan.
Lien, who is attending the APEC leadership meeting on behalf of Ma, met Hu on Friday on the sidelines of the summit. Taiwan was one of the founding members of the ICAO when the Convention on International Civil Aviation was signed in 1944 in Chicago, the same year the ICAO was established, Ma said
However, Taiwan was excluded from the organization after the country gave up its UN seat in October 1971, Ma said.
Taiwan’s exclusion from the ICAO means that it cannot receive first-hand information on international aviation standards and regulations.
Joining the ICAO would help Taiwan remain in synch with the international aviation community in planning aviation routes, and in adjusting flight altitudes, among other practical benefits, he said.
In fact, Ma added, Taiwan’s ICAO entry would also assist the organization since more than 10 international routes passing through the Taipei Flight Information Region and its Civil Aeronautics Administration provide services to more than 1 million flights to maintain aviation safety and order.
ICAO, a specialized agency under the UN, is aimed at promoting safety and the orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world.
It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety and security, as well as for aviation environmental protection. It currently has 191 member states, according to its Web site.