Fri, Dec 14, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Ma speaks out on ICAO exclusion

Staff writer, with CNA

The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) exclusion of Taiwan is detrimental to global air safety because Taiwan provides more than 1.5 million items of aviation-related information to the world every year, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday.

In a bid to drum up support for Taiwan’s bid to join the organization, Ma said Taiwan acts as a regional nexus for international flight paths, with more than 1 million flights passing through its airspace every year.

He added that international aviation safety may suffer if Taiwan is excluded from the body, which is dedicated to improving aviation safety.

The president made the comments while receiving a group of permanent representatives to the UN from Taiwan’s diplomatic allies.

Ma said the US Congress and the EU Parliament have both voiced their support for Taiwan’s bid to join the organization, and even Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) had promised to find a way to allow Taiwan to join the ICAO.

Taiwan’s previous bids to join the ICAO had been blocked by Beijing, which has spared no effort to exclude Taiwan from international bodies which require statehood.

Ma said hostility prevailed between Taiwan and China before he assumed office in 2008, but now the ties are thawing due to his administration’s efforts to reconcile with China.

Due to Taiwan’s improving ties with China, Beijing has softened its policy to isolate Taiwan on the international stage, and Taiwan has succeeded in taking part in the World Health Assembly since 2009, Ma said.

Now the confrontation between Taiwan and China has gradually given way to mutually complementary ties, which illustrate a dramatic change in their relationship, Ma said.

It does not mean that Taiwan and China have ironed out their differences all together, rather they put aside their differences to deal with the urgent problems facing them, and this approach has made a great difference in the last four years, the president said.

Taiwan’s improving ties with China have given it greater chances to join international activities which will in turn boost Taiwanese people’s confidence in dealing with China, Ma said.

The president vowed to beef up Taiwan’s ties with allies, adding that his country would not stop its allies from forming trade and economic ties with China, as long as they are non-official ones.

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