The US House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs on Monday denounced the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for blocking Twitter accounts that criticized the organization’s continued exclusion of Taiwan during a global public health crisis.
“The United Nation’s @icao plays a valuable role in ensuring aviation security. But silencing voices that oppose ICAO’s exclusion of Taiwan goes against their stated principles of fairness, inclusion, and transparency,” the committee said in a Twitter post.
The tweet was a response to ICAO blocking critics, US news Web site Axios said in a report earlier on the same day.
According to Axios, Jessica Drun (莊宛樺), a non-resident fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, on Sunday noticed that ICAO had blocked her on Twitter, two days after she criticized the organization and the WHO for refusing to share knowledge with Taiwan’s authorities in a tweet.
“This means civil aviation authorities for one of busiest regional airports do not receive up-to-date info on any potential ICAO-WHO efforts. This is how a virus spreads,” Drun tweeted on Thursday last week.
There has been an outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which causes respiratory infection, in the city of Wuhan, China, where the virus was first detected last month.
The virus has since spread to other countries, reaching Europe and the US as a result of people traveling by air, sea and land, or direct contact with a carrier.
The airport Drun mentioned in her tweet was Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, which was ranked the 11th busiest airport in the world in terms of international passenger traffic in 2018, handling more than 46.5 million passengers.
The Twitter accounts of several other critics were also blocked by ICAO, the Axios report said. However, it did not identify them, saying only that some were Capitol Hill staffers, analysts and an English teacher in Guangzhou who had posted similar criticisms.
Through his press shop Twitter account, US Senator Marco Rubio described ICAO’s action as “outrageous” and said it was “another sign that the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to pressure and bully international organizations to bend to its demands are working.”
In another tweet posted on Friday last week, Rubio said that Beijing’s efforts to block Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations such as the WHO have real effects on global responses to public health crises.
“We are especially reminded of this as the deadly coronavirus has reached Taiwan,” he tweeted.
ICAO Secretary-General Fang Liu (劉芳), a former Chinese aviation official, issued a reminder of the organization’s social media rules on Twitter, saying: “Irrelevant, compromising and offensive material will be removed and the publisher precluded.”
“Join us in improving advocacy for sustainable aviation development through fact-based discourse,” she tweeted.
‘NO SURRENDER’: A blockade or outlying island seizure would be an act of war, and China’s drills last month have emboldened Taipei in its response plans, an official said The Republic of China Army Command Headquarters has agreed to purchase 5,000 Kestrel close-range anti-armor missiles worth NT$400 million (US$12.63 million) from the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, according to the military’s latest arms purchase bid notice. The army asked the institute to complete the order within 13 months, a military source said on condition of anonymity. Kestrel missiles are designed to penetrate armored vehicles and are used in anti-surface warfare, as they feature optical sights and night vision, and can be operated in all weather conditions. The missile has a 400m range, or a 150m range when used for breaching brick
IF THE CHIPS ARE DOWN: The US secretary of state warned that a disruption to the supply of Taiwanese semiconductors would play havoc with the global economy If Taiwan were attacked, the global economy would face devastation, as that is where most of the world’s semiconductors are produced, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday. In an interview that aired on the 60 Minutes television program, Blinken was asked whether instability across the Taiwan Strait would be felt around the world. Blinken said that China has been increasingly aggressive against Taiwan, posing a threat to peace and stability in the region, while economically the world would feel the effects of such aggression. Blinken was interviewed for the program after meeting with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi
‘ABSURD’: UN Resolution 2758 expelled the Chiang Kai-Shek government without mentioning Taipei, something the Chinese minister did not acknowledge, Taipei said Taiwan yesterday criticized Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) for “intentionally misinterpreting” a 1971 UN resolution to misrepresent Taiwan’s status to the global community. In his address on Saturday to the UN General Assembly, Wang cited Resolution 2758 as a basis for Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China. He said that Beijing considers Taiwan an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times.” “Only when China is completely reunified can there be enduring peace across the Taiwan Strait... Any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” Wang said. General Assembly Resolution 2758
The UK is determined to work with its allies to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself, British Prime Minister Liz Truss said on Sunday, a pledge that drew expressions of gratitude from Taipei. “What I’ve been clear about is that all of our allies need to make sure Taiwan is able to defend itself, and that is very, very important,” Truss said in a CNN interview, when asked whether the UK was willing to match the US’ pledge last week to defend Taiwan militarily in the event of an attack by China. Truss said her government was working with its G7 allies,