The nation’s bid for participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) should not be affected by “political factors,” Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) said yesterday, stressing the importance of Taiwan’s participation in the body.
Taiwan’s effort to gain membership of the UN specialized agency involves many factors, such as China’s attitude and the support of key players in the organization, which is based in Montreal, Canada, he added.
China’s objection is seen as a major obstacle to Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, including the ICAO.
It is crucial to have support from countries such as Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the US and European nations, Lin said during an interview.
He said that in light of Taiwan’s status as a significant air traffic hub, it is even more important that the nation be involved in the ICAO, which promotes the safe development of international civil aviation and sets standards and regulations for aviation security.
“This is important not only for Taiwan, but also for other countries in the region. We hope to get that message across,” Lin said, adding that the number of weekly flights across the Taiwan Strait, as well as air travel between Taiwan and Japan, and between Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries have increased significantly over the past few years.
“We also hope to steer clear of political factors” in Taiwan’s ICAO bid and instead focus on the contribution Taiwan can make to the body, Lin added.
Taiwan will continue to seek participation in the ICAO and expects to make considerable headway at this year’s assembly in Montreal, he said.
China, one of the ICAO’s 191 member states, has often tried to suppress Taiwan’s international presence, as it considers Taiwan part of its territory.
However, the hostility between the two sides has decreased significantly since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office in 2008.
Last year, then-Chinese president Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) promised to consider the possibility of helping Taiwan with its ICAO bid.
Hu made the comments during a meeting with Lien Chan (連戰), Taiwan’s envoy to the APEC forum, on the sidelines of an APEC leadership meeting in September last year.