Swaziland urges meaningful ICAO participation for Taiwan

Swaziland's Minister of Public Works and Transportation Lindiwi Dlamini called Sept. 28 in Montreal for Taiwan's meaningful participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization, echoing remarks made earlier by officials from the Solomon and Marshall islands.

Shutting Taiwan out contradicts ICAO's No Country Left Behind campaign, which highlights its efforts to assist members in implementing aviation standards and recommended practices, Dlamini said. The theme is self-explanatory, if any country is excluded, the whole globe will be impacted.

Dlamini made the comments while meeting with Kung Chung-chen, head of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada, and a delegation of officials from Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration on the sidelines of ICAO's 39th assembly in the Canadian city.

Swaziland will take every opportunity to spotlight the unfairness of Taiwan's nonparticipation in ICAO, Dlamini said, adding that Taiwan deserves praise for its contributions to global aviation safety and longstanding adherence to ICAO standards, despite the difficultly of accessing related information in a direct and timely fashion.

The public support of Swaziland and the Solomon and Marshall islands all Republic of China (Taiwan) diplomatic allies for Taiwan's meaningful participation in ICAO has been buttressed by a media campaign undertaken by members of Taiwan's diplomatic corps. In addition to clearly stating the country's case, the officials have highlighted the influence of political pressure from mainland China in the matter.

In a letter published Sept. 28 by American daily The Washington Times, Stanley Kaohead of Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.said Taiwan appreciates the backing of the U.S. government and Congress, as well as like-minded allies and partners. He added that the decision to exclude Taiwan from ICAO is a step back from the 2013 assembly and is extremely unfair and unwise.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Kung in a letter published the same day by Canadian weekly The Hill Times. ICAO should not have missed out Taiwan, and optimal aviation safety standards can only be reached by keeping the country in the loop, he said, adding that it will be easier to achieve ICAO's goal of a seamless sky through Taiwan's participation.

Hsieh Jhy-wey, head of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Germany, said Sept. 27 in an interview with Bonn-based international broadcaster Deutsche Welle that ICAO was established to serve the people of the world, not individual countries. Taiwan's absence from ICAO assemblies indicates global flight safety cannot be ensured, he added.

Taiwan is an indispensable part of global aviation. It is responsible for managing large numbers of aircraft in the Taipei Flight Information Region, which covers 180,000 square nautical miles and borders four FIRs: Fukuoka, Hong Kong, Manila and Shanghai. In 2015, Taipei FIR provided services to nearly 1.53 million controlled flights carrying 58 million travelers.

Taiwan took part in the 38th assembly held in September 2013 as a special guest of then-ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez. This was the first time in 42 years the nation had been invited to participate in an official meeting of the U.N. specialized agency responsible for setting international aviation standards and promoting air safety.

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