ICAO president says Taiwan’s invitation suggested by China

By Joy Lee, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez yesterday said that he decided to invite Taiwan to the 38th ICAO Assembly in Montreal because of the China’s suggestion.

Taiwan received an invitation to attend the assembly this year for the first time in 42 years. Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director-General Jean Shen (沈啟) is currently attending the assembly along with Taiwan’s delegation under the designation “Chinese Taipei.” Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) yesterday said that attending the assembly as Chinese Taipei is the result of a compromise, but that the Taiwanese government did not accept any deals from mainland China in exchange for attending the assembly.

Gonzalez and the ICAO Secretary General Raymond Benjamin told Taiwanese media yesterday that the organization decided to invite Taiwan as an special guest to the assembly after the mainland Chinese government made the suggestion.

According to an anonymous official from China, Kuomintang (KMT) Honorary Chairman Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄) asked officials from China to support Taiwan’s attendance at the ICAO assembly during a meeting this June, but the officials only responded that they would do their best.

The official said that the ICAO’s decision to invite Taiwan to the assembly as a special guest was based on discussions with many countries.

According to the official, all member states of the ICAO were glad to welcome Taiwan after being notified that Taiwan would be attending as a special guest.

The official said that Taiwan’s attendance at the ICAO assembly represents the peaceful development of Taiwan-China relations.

The ICAO Assembly is the organization’s sovereign body. It meets at least once every three years to review the ICAO’s work program in technical, economic, legal and technical cooperation fields.

Taiwan, a founding member of the ICAO, has not been able to attend the triennial ICAO Assembly since it lost its United Nations seat to Beijing in 1971. Shen Moved by Taiwan’s Achievement

Shen yesterday said that being able to represent Taiwan at the ICAO assembly is something that she could not have dreamed of.

“The fact that Taiwan is able to take the first step in returning to the ICAO makes me want to cry,” Shen said.

Shen said that all former CAA directors-general, the Transportation Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been working hard to get Taiwan back to the ICAO, and she is very grateful for the support of the United States.

Department of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki issued a statement welcoming Taiwan’s participation in the ICAO assembly on Tuesday.