Politics should not hamper Taiwan’s ICAO bid: minister


TAIPEI–Taiwan’s bid for participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) should not be affected by “political factors,” said Foreign Minister David Lin, stressing the importance of Taiwan’s participation in the body.

Taiwan is seeking participation in the ICAO, especially in its triennial assembly in September, Lin said. But the effort involves many factors such as China’s attitude and the support of key players in the organization, which is based in Montreal, Canada, he added.

China’s objection is seen as a major obstacle to Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, including the ICAO, a United Nations specialized agency.

It is crucial to have support from countries such as Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United States and the European nations, Lin said during an interview with CNA.

He said that in light of Taiwan’s potential as a significant air traffic hub, it is even more important for Taiwan have interaction with the ICAO, which promotes the safe development of international civil aviation and sets the standards and regulations for aviation security.

“This is important not only for Taiwan but also for countries in the region. We hope to get that message across,” Lin said, noting the increase in the number of weekly flights across the Taiwan Strait, and increased air travel between Taiwan and Japan, and between Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries.

“We also hope to steer clear of political factors” in Taiwan’s ICAO bid and instead focus on the contribution Taiwan can make to the body, Lin added.

Taiwan will continue its efforts to participate in the ICAO and expects that considerable headway will be made at this year’s assembly in Montreal, he said.

China, one of the 191 member states of the ICAO, often tries to suppress Taiwan’s international presence, as it considers Taiwan part of its territory. However, the hostility between the two sides has decreased significantly since President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008.

Last year, then Chinese President Hu Jintao promised to consider the possibility of helping Taiwan with its ICAO bid.

Hu made the comment during a meeting with Lien Chan, Taiwan’s envoy to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, on the sidelines of an APEC leadership meeting last September.