Legislator accuses MOFA of lying about ICAO

By Tseng Wei-chen and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sat, Sep 21, 2013 - Page 3

An opposition party legislator has accused the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of deceiving the public with regards to the official status of Taiwan’s delegation at the 38th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) yesterday said that in the ICAO invitation letter, Taiwan’s political status was denigrated and made subordinate to China, and it was not an invitation for “special VIP guest” invitation as claimed by the ministry.

Citing a copy of the ICAO letter, Kuan denounced the ministry for misleading the public, with what she said was “the Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration’s boasting and lying to Taiwanese.”

Kuan said the invitation was issued to “Chinese Taipei Civil Aeronautics Administration.”

Kuan said that, without a comma separating “Chinese Taipei” and “Civil Aeronautics Administration,” the title meant “Taipei’s CAA, belonging under Chinese PRC rule,” which downgrades Taiwan’s status.

She compared the invitation with that of the World Health Assembly (WHA).

The WHA invited Taiwan under the designation “Department of Health, Chinese Taipei,” she said.

In the WHA invitation, the organization title is stated first, followed by the name of the country, she said.

“Taiwan’s status in the ICAO assembly would be lower than that of the WHO,” she said.

“Each time the Ma government attends a meeting of an international organization, Taiwan’s status in the international community is denigrated. The government is pushing Taiwan toward being ruled by China. Thus it is creating the international customary usage in referring to our status, and this would be difficult to change in the future,” Kuan said.

She also criticized the ministry for making a “grand show” of the ICAO invitation, referring to last week’s press conference and media reports quoting the ministry as saying that the UN body had invited Taiwan’s delegation as “special VIP guests” (特邀貴賓).

Kuan said that the ICAO invitation letter only said that ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez was inviting Taiwan “as my guests.”

From the copy of the ICAO invitation letter, issued to the Director General of Chinese Taipei Civil Aeronautics Administration, Kobeh Gonzalez’s original words in the opening paragraph were: “I have the pleasure of inviting experts or officials of your Administration as my guests to be present at the 38th Session of the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization which will be held in Montreal from 24 September to 4th October 2013.”

“The letter was ‘to invite experts or officials of your Administration,’ but Ma’s administration puffed it up by telling the public ICAO had invited the CAA to lead an official delegation,” Kuan said.

Regarding this case, she also said that the ministry had requested her “not to circulate the ICAO invitation letter.”

“Is the ICAO’s letter not just an open invitation? Or is the government hiding something it does not want the public to know?” she asked.

She said it is clear that Ma’s administration does not want the public to know the details of the invitation, which she likened to “betraying our country to gain personal glory.”

She added that the government is likely trying to cover up the details of ICAO invitation and deceiving the public.

She demanded that the ministry explain who had accepted the term “Chinese Taipei Civil Aeronautics Administration,” why the ministry lied to the public about being a “special VIP guest,” and why the ministry tried to prevent the ICAO invitation letter being made public.

In response, MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) yesterday said that “the Republic of China (ROC) has in the past participated at APEC and WHO meetings under the designation ‘Chinese Taipei.’”

Kao said the delegations should attend the ICAO assembly under the name “Chinese Taipei” which is an accepted designation in the international community, which “does not downgrade our country’s status and has not harmed our national dignity.”

She said the government has always emphasized the participation in international meetings in a professional, pragmatic and meaningful manner.

In reponse to Kuan’s comment that the ministry had asked legislators not to circulate the invitation letter, Kao said that because the invitation was an official letter from the ICAO, and involved communication on both sides, the ministry added the reminder notice to the reference copies distributed among legislators.