Fri, Aug 05, 2016 - Page 3 News List

MAC urges Beijing to show ‘goodwill’ over ICAO activity

By Stacy Hsu and Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporters

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday urged the Chinese government to demonstrate goodwill toward Taiwan’s application to attend this year’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly, which it said would be filed under an “appropriate name.”

In a news release, the council said the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) has submitted a letter of intent via the Ministry of Transportation and Communications — after the council and ministry exchanged opinions on the matter — to attend the assembly, which is to be held from Sept. 27 through Oct. 7 in Montreal, Canada.

“With global aviation safety and the safety of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait in mind, the administration will apply for the nation’s attendance at this year’s ICAO assembly under an appropriate name and is willing to abide by the organization’s regulations,” the council said.

The government plans to seek support from all of the ICAO’s members and engage in negotiations with Beijing on the matter, the council said, adding that it hopes China would show goodwill toward Taiwanese.

The council said it would do its utmost to accommodate the needs of the CAA and provide assistance in its dealings with Beijing.

“Hopefully, with goodwill on both sides of the strait, we will be able to participate once again at this year’s ICAO assembly,” the council said.

After a proposal by Beijing, Taipei was invited to attend the 38th ICAO Assembly in 2013 as a “guest.”

However, the WHO’s unprecedented citation of the “one China” principle in a last-minute invitation to Taiwan for this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting in May sparked speculations that Taiwan’s hopes of joining the ICAO meeting next month could be thwarted.

The council said it welcomes peaceful and stable development of cross-strait ties, reiterating President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) call for both sides to put aside the baggage of history and engage in amicable interactions for the sake of people’s welfare.

“On the basis of mutual respect and seeking common ground, while reserving differences, both sides should endeavor to work out a new direction [for cross-strait relations] and a new way of doing things,” the council said.

The CAA said in a statement that Taiwan’s participation in the annual assembly and its activities is “extremely necessary” and “absolutely legitimate,” given the fact that air traffic controllers in Taiwan guided 1.53 million aircraft accessing the Taipei Flight Information Region last year and watched over the lives of 58 million passengers.

“We are seeking the support of other ICAO members and believe that [Taiwan’s participation] can be resolved through cross-strait negotiations. It is our sincere hope that China can show its goodwill toward Taiwanese,” the CAA said, adding that it would apply to attend the assembly under the “proper status” and was willing to adhere to the ICAO’s rules.

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