Safety at stake in ICAO entry: US congressman


CNA

WASHINGTON — Taiwan’s inclusion in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a public safety issue, and the United States will take all possible measures to push for results, U.S. House Representative Ed Royce said Tuesday.

Royce, a Republican congressman who currently chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Taiwan needs to be able to take part in the ICAO to gain access to the organization’s safety rules on international aviation.

This is important because Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is a major transit hub and the country has been admitted to the U.S. visa waiver program, Royce argued. There is no reason to exclude Taiwan from international organizations like the ICAO, since inclusion will help enhance the safety of every passenger, he said.

The U.S. Congress has made its stance clear by passing a bill that requires the Secretary of State to facilitate Taiwan’s participation in the ICAO and now is the time to discuss how to work toward that goal, Royce added.

The congressman said he plans to discuss the issue in the next few weeks with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel and U.S. allies.

The bill on Taiwan’s participation in the ICAO was passed by both chambers of the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in July.

Taiwan has been seeking international support for its bid to participate in U.N. specialized agencies such as the ICAO since 2009.

The ICAO is scheduled to hold its triennial assembly Sept. 24-Oct. 4 in Montreal, Canada, and Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) had hoped to attend as an observer.

But MOFA official Kelly Hsieh said in June that as well as U.S. support, China’s stance is also a critical factor in Taiwan’s bid to participate in the ICAO.