The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its gratitude yesterday to the US House of Representatives for supporting Taiwan’s bid to participate in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
On Tuesday, the House passed US Senate Concurrent Resolution 17 on “Expressing the sense of Congress that Taiwan should be accorded observer status in the International Civil Aviation Organization.”
The move was the final step in the legislative approval of the resolution that was passed by the Senate in September last year, and was welcomed by the ministry.
“This shows that the US Congress attaches great importance to and supports Taiwan’s participation in the international community,” the ministry said in a statement.
The resolution, initiated by US Senator Robert Menendez in May last year, states that Taiwan’s participation in the ICAO will contribute to the success of a global strategy to address aviation security threats using effective international cooperation.
It urges the US government to “take a leading role in garnering international support for the granting of observer status to Taiwan in the ICAO for the purpose of such participation” and asks the US Department of State to brief Congress on the US government’s efforts on the issue.
Though these types of “sense of Congress” resolutions are not legally binding, the passage of Resolution 17 offered a symbolic morale boost to Taiwan, which is not a UN member and so is dependent on support from other countries to gain observer status in the UN specialized agency.
The major obstacle to Taiwan’s bid has been China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory and has consistently refused to recognize the country’s right to join the agency.
Last week, Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), in a meeting with former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) on the sidelines of the APEC leaders’ summit in Vladivostok, Russia, said that China would “seriously study” the possibility of helping Taiwan participate in the ICAO “in an appropriate way.”