Taiwan facing big challenge in bid to attend ICAO assembly: official

A Taiwanese official has admitted outside the venue of the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO's) assembly that Taiwan faces a great challenge in its bid to participate in the event, but said it was receiving warm support from allies of the country.

Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Deputy Director Ho Shu-ping (???) made the remarks in an interview with CNA Saturday, before setting off to return to Taiwan after a six-day trip in Montreal.

Heading a seven-member delegation, Ho flew to the Canadian city Sept. 27 when the ICAO opened the 39th session of its assembly there, at the ICAO's headquarters.

Taiwan was not invited to the event, most likely because of the objections of Beijing, but the Taiwanese government decided to send the delegation here nonetheless to express its appreciation to countries that have shown their support for Taiwan, according to Ho.

Asked what position Taiwan's civil aeronautics authorities will take on the most important issue in the 2016 ICAO assembly of establishing a global carbon offset mechanism to address carbon emissions from international aviation, Ho said environmental protection and carbon emission reduction has been an important policy of the ICAO.

"Being a part of the world's aviation sector, Taiwan will naturally participate in and be in accordance with (the policy)," she said.

However, unable to attend the ICAO assembly, Taiwan cannot acquire the information of what had been discussed regarding the carbon reduction issue, so it will have to collect as much information as possible indirectly through all kinds of channels, said Ho.

Taiwan has to narrow the "time gap" in acquiring the data as much as possible, and that is the challenge Taiwan will be faced with when it is unable to participate in the ICAO, Ho said.

She added that Taiwan would not want its aviation businesses to be unable to follow the world's steps in the reduction of carbon emissions because they have not had enough time to prepare for it due to the time and information gaps.

This is why Taiwan must call with its full strength for the support of other countries in its bid to participate in the ICAO assembly meaningfully and professionally, the official underscored.

Speaking of the Taiwan delegation's holding bilateral talks with Taiwan-friendly countries outside the venue of the ICAO assembly without stopping to rest over the past six days, Ho said the reason it did so was to thank the allies' support, seek their continuous backing, and let them know better the general condition of Taiwan's aviation transportation operations.

During the talks, the delegation had sensed the countries' warm support and their agreement that it is necessary for Taiwan -- an aviation transportation hub in East Asia -- to participate in the ICAO professionally.

The countries all agree with the idea that "aviation safety is without borders" and believe that flight safety should not be affected by any factors, including politics, Ho said.

From the results of the talks, the delegation has concluded that Taiwan has to continue to seek closer ties with its allies and friendly countries on issues concerning aviation services, safety and security and environmental protection.

Taiwan's civil aviation authorities will continue to improve all kinds of civil aviation measures to allow the international community to know better about Taiwan's situation in the sector, Ho added.

Ho and the Taiwan delegation departed Montreal later Saturday to return home.

The ICAO is a United Nations specialized agency responsible for establishing worldwide aviation policies.

In 2013, Taiwan was represented at the 38th ICAO assembly by Shen Chi (??), then-director-general of the CAA, who was invited as a special guest of then-ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez.

That marked Taipei's first representation at the ICAO assembly since losing its seat in the United Nations to Beijing in 1971.

Relations between Taiwan and mainland China were good at the time. Cross-Taiwan Strait relations have cooled since President Tsai Ing-wen (???) took office on May 20, and opposition from Beijing is widely believed to be the main reason behind the ICAO's decision to not invite Taiwan this year.

Beijing has taken a harder line against Taiwan because the new administration has refused to accept the idea that Taiwan and China belong to one China as the political foundation for cross-strait dialogue and exchanges.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel