ICAO bid wins support from UK lawmakers

The Republic of China (Taiwan) government expressed appreciation Oct. 4 to the three co-chairs of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group for voicing regret concerning Taiwan's absence from the 39th assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization and asserting support for its participation in the event and related regional meetings going forward.

Taiwan needs to participate in the ICAO assembly to ensure it can comply with up to date standards and receive technical and academic assistance from the ICAO, according to a statement issued the previous day by UK Member of Parliament Nigel Evans and House of Lords members Lord Faulkner and Lord Steel.

The announcement reflects earlier comments made by Evans while leading a delegation of 10 UK lawmakers to Taiwan Sept. 26 to Oct. 2. During the visit, the British MP stated it was incredibly regrettable that Taiwan was not invited to attend the 2016 edition of the triennial assembly, noting that it is more important for the nation to participate in the event today than three years ago�when it attended as a special guest of then-ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez�due to the increased aircraft and passenger volume in its airspace.

Numerous foreign leaders and lawmakers have called for Taiwan's participation in the U.N. specialized agency in recent weeks, including heads of state and government from the nation's diplomatic allies and several members of the U.S. Congress.

More than 230 articles have been published in foreign media outlets concerning Taiwan's bid for meaningful participation in the global civil aviation body. These include 62 penned by Minister of Transportation and Communications Ho Chen Tan, 51 by overseas representatives, as well as some 110 reports written by prominent media outlets like The New York Times, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The MOFA has also produced a short English-language video advocating Taiwan's participation in ICAO. Titled Flight Pattern, the 68-second film has received a total of more than 520,000 views since it was uploaded to the Facebook page and YouTube channel of MOFA-backed Trending Taiwan.

In September 2013, then-Civil Aeronautics Administration Director-General Shen Chi led a nine-member delegation to the 38th ICAO assembly under the designation Chinese Taipei, the first time representatives from Taiwan had attended the gathering in 42 years. Taiwan had hoped to take part in the U.N. specialized agency's latest triennial meeting from Sept. 27 to Oct. 7, but was denied participation due to interference from mainland China, according to the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council.

A crucial part of the global aviation system, Taiwan is responsible for administrating the Taipei Flight Information Region, which covers 180,000 square nautical miles and borders four other FIRs: Fukuoka, Manila, Hong Kong and Shanghai. In 2015, the Taipei FIR provided services to nearly 1.53 million flights carrying some 58 million travelers. (OC-E)

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan)