Ashton supports ICAO invitation for Taiwan

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - Page 3

A top EU official has expressed her support for Taiwan’s participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assembly that opened yesterday.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton welcomed the invitation for Taiwan to attend the 38th session of the ICAO assembly in Montreal, Canada.

The ICAO is a UN specialized agency that promotes safe and efficient air travel.

Civil Aeronautics Administration Director-General Jean Shen (沈啟) is heading a delegation to the assembly after being invited to participate as a special guest of ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez.

“This invitation will help promote the security of international aviation and assist the ICAO in achieving its goal of creating a seamless Asian sky,” Ashton was quoted as saying in a statement issued by her spokesperson on Monday.

The assembly’s triennial session started yesterday and runs until Oct. 4 at the organization’s headquarters in Montreal.

Ashton also supports Taiwan’s practical participation in multilateral organizations where its presence is important for EU and global interests, the statement said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was grateful for the EU’s support of the country’s meaningful participation in the ICAO, and it pledged to use the opportunity to strengthen exchanges with the EU and other countries to jointly promote global aviation safety.

Taiwan’s participation in this year’s ICAO assembly will be the first Taiwan participates in any capacity since the Republic of China gave up its seat at the UN in 1971.

Since 2009, Taiwan has sought to participate in the ICAO as an observer to achieve its goal of “professional, pragmatic, dignified and meaningful” global participation, the ministry said.

Though Taiwanese officials have praised the breakthrough, attending the meeting as a “special guest” fell short of Taiwan’s hopes of being given observer status.