While Taiwan has yet to receive an invitation from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to attend its next assembly, a delegation is scheduled to leave on Sunday for Montreal, Canada, and is to meet with ICAO members to discuss urgent issues facing the global civil aviation industry, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday.
The nation attended the ICAO assembly in Montreal in 2013 as a guest. It was not able to attend the 2016 meeting due to objections by Beijing.
The ICAO assembly is to begin on Tuesday, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) told a joint news conference with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has written letters to mainstream media in 21 countries calling for the international community to support Taiwan’s participation at the meeting, Wang said.
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director-General Lin Kuo-hsien (林國顯) also expressed an interest in attending the meeting in a letter to ICAO president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu last month, Wang said.
Unfortunately, the nation has not received an invitation, he said.
“Nevertheless, we have decided to form a delegation to go to Montreal to show our determination to participate in the meeting. We would also like to use this opportunity to meet with delegations from other nations and non-governmental organizations, and to personally express our gratitude to allies for supporting our participation in the ICAO,” Wang said.
The founding purpose of the ICAO is to ensure the safe and orderly growth of the global civil aviation industry, Wang said, adding that it aims to create a “seamless sky” by setting the regulations and standards that should be abided by all nations.
“As an air hub in East Asia, the Taipei Flight Information Region plays an important role, as it regulated the traffic of 1.75 million aircraft last year. The nation’s air traffic control center is also the first in Asia to operate with modern systems,” Wang said. “This year, the CAA is holding seminars on aviation safety issues, which shows that the nation’s aviation professionals and their efforts have been recognized by the international community.”
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kelly Hsieh (謝武樵) said that the G7 foreign ministers’ communique in April stated that they “support the substantive participation of all active members of the international aviation community in ICAO forums,” and that “excluding some of its members for political purposes compromises aviation safety and security.”
The US and Canada have also supported Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations, he said.
Asked if any of the nation’s allies would advocate for its participation in the ICAO, Hsieh said that now is not the time to disclose the nations that would speak on Taiwan’s behalf, as the foreign ministry is still arranging relevant details.
Chinese leaders in the organization include ICAO secretary-general Liu Fang (柳芳) and Legal Affairs and External Relations Bureau director Huang Jiefang (黃解放), Hsieh said, adding that Liu was re-elected last year.
Their presence creates a challenge for Taiwan, Hsieh said, adding that it is necessary to send a delegation to show the nation’s determination.
The delegation would not organize any events at the entrance to the assembly, he said.
Instead, it would seek to exchange thoughts and ideas with allies by hosting news conferences, bilateral meetings and dinner parties, he added.
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