US senators Ted Cruz and Jeff Merkley on Thursday introduced a bill that seeks to facilitate Taiwan’s efforts to take part in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The bill, dubbed the draft “ensuring Taiwan aviation and safety act,” mandates that the US secretary of state regularly submit “an unclassified report” to the US Congress to detail the US government’s efforts to “ensure Taiwan’s meaningful participation in ICAO, including in ICAO triennial assembly sessions, conferences, technical working groups, meetings, activities and mechanisms.”
Under the bill, the US secretary of state would also be authorized to develop a strategy to secure Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the ICAO and instruct the US envoy to the UN agency to use their “voice and vote” to achieve that goal.
The US envoy should also “seek to secure a vote at the next ICAO triennial assembly session on the question of Taiwan’s participation in that session,” the bill says.
The 41st edition of the ICAO triennial assembly started on Tuesday in Montreal. Taiwan was not invited.
Cruz said the ICAO cannot successfully pursue its mission to ensure aviation safety while excluding Taiwan.
“This exclusion, and the fact that it is the result of bowing to political pressure from the Chinese Communist Party, directly endangers ICAO’s credibility as a multilateral organization,” Cruz said in a news release.
Merkley said Taiwan has the fifth-largest airport in Asia and plays a major role in global aviation.
“Taiwan’s meaningful participation in ICAO will enable the organization to do its job better,” Merkley said. “The United States should use its voice and vote to support Taiwan’s inclusion in ICAO.”
In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that China’s recent “acts of military provocations” in the seas and airspace around Taiwan had “gravely affected international air traffic.”
The ministry stressed the necessity for Taiwan to be included in the ICAO to ensure the safety of global civil aviation operations and called on the UN agency to allow for Taiwan’s participation.
The ministry thanked Latin American and Caribbean lawmakers in the Formosa Club for signing a letter urging the ICAO to allow Taiwan to meaningfully participate.
The ministry said that the letter was signed by 217 lawmakers from 16 countries, including Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.
The legislatures of Belize, Guatemala and Saint Lucia — diplomatic allies of Taiwan — unanimously backed the call for the country’s inclusion, the ministry said.
Taiwan is a critical air traffic hub connecting Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, and an indispensable part of the global system of air travel that should not have been excluded due to political considerations, the letter said.
By not allowing Taiwan to take part in the ICAO, the organization is denying Taiwan access to timely and comprehensive information, they said.
The lawmakers also condemned China’s air force and naval exercises around Taiwan in August, saying that the drills significantly disrupted global air traffic and trade.
The ICAO should act on its campaign of reconnecting the world by cooperating with Taiwan to make air travel safer, they said.
Additional reporting by Yang Cheng-yu
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