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International support for Taiwan’s ICAO participation gains momentum in face of China’s obstruction

October 5, 2019
No. 231

With the 40th Triennial Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) having drawn to a close in Montreal, Canada, on October 4, MOFA expresses its strong dissatisfaction and regret that Taiwan did not receive an invitation to the event owing to Chinese obstruction and pressure. At the same time, the clear rise this year in international momentum and volume of support for Taiwan's participation in ICAO is heartening.
Following the active efforts of related government units, the international community now has a full understanding of our bid to participate in ICAO on a pragmatic and professional basis. Taiwan has gained widespread approval and recognition regarding the necessity of being incorporated into the international civil aviation system. MOFA is strongly encouraged by these positive developments, and thanks the relevant actors for their support and assistance. Based on this strong foundation, MOFA will continue to work closely with the Civil Aeronautics Administration, Ministry of Transportation and Communications, in actively promoting Taiwan's case.
In April, the foreign ministers of G7 nations—the United States, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy—issued a first-ever joint communique supporting Taiwan's case. This represented an exciting development in our bid. Taiwanese allies Belize, Eswatini, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Paraguay, St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tuvalu also wrote to the ICAO Secretary General, as well as lent further assistance by speaking up for Taiwan at the ICAO Assembly and attending side events organized by Taiwan. Furthermore, the executive or legislative branches of the governments of the US, Japan, Canada, France, New Zealand, Australia, Hungary, Spain, Chile, Nauru, Korea, Belgium, South Africa, Mexico, Austria, Jordan, Colombia, the Philippines, Sweden, and other nations have supported Taiwan's participation in ICAO by contacting or writing to ICAO, making public statements of support or issuing statements, and passing related bills or resolutions. These positive developments have raised the international profile of Taiwan's case, strengthening its legitimacy and rationality, and laying a solid foundation for the continuing pursuit of our bid.
Attending bilateral talks in Montreal organized by the CAA-organized Taiwan ICAO Action Team, as well as a welcome reception hosted by Taiwan's representative office in Canada, allowed diplomatic allies, friendly nations, and civil aviation organizations to express their concern and support for Taiwan. In more than 20 bilateral meetings, the Taiwan ICAO Action Team gave national delegations and NGOs a detailed explanation of Taiwan's case, and engaged in a full exchange of opinions on civil aviation affairs, achieving its goals of expanding international support and establishing professional links.
To support the government in promoting Taiwan's ICAO bid, more than 200 overseas Taiwanese and Taiwanese students also spontaneously gathered at ICAO headquarters on the first day of the assembly to voice their support for Taiwan, and express dissatisfaction and disappointment at our exclusion from the event. MOFA expresses its highest regards and sincere gratitude to these demonstrators for their patriotism and passion.
Taiwan's bid has also received widespread and positive attention from the international community. For a Seamless Sky, a short film produced by MOFA, received more than 2.61 million views and reached more than 4.09 million people on social media, with the representative offices in Taiwan of the US, Japan, Germany, France, Australia, and the UK reposting the video on their official Facebook pages. The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei responded to Taiwan's bid by reiterating the importance of including all members of the international aviation community in ICAO. Mainstream media outlets in the US, Japan, Canada, Australia, and other nations also published some 137 related articles, either reprinting a feature article by Taiwan's Minister of Transportation and Communications, or writing pieces sympathetic to Taiwan's case. Furthermore, during the ICAO Assembly, Taiwan publicized its case in prominent places on the sidewalks surrounding ICAO headquarters and at a nearby subway station, while an LED screen car playing For a Seamless Sky attracted local people and international representatives alike, providing excellent publicity.
MOFA reiterates that Taiwan's bid to participate in ICAO is based on the professional and pragmatic consideration that it maintains and safeguards the safety of 313 passenger and air cargo flight routes within the Taipei Flight Information Region (Taipei FIR) carrying more than 68 million passengers on 1.75 million flights per year. Only the CAA, which oversees the Taipei FIR, has the right to represent Taiwan at ICAO, and, on the basis of equality and mutual respect, to discuss international aviation issues with the civil aviation authorities of other countries. MOFA once again calls upon ICAO to revert to a more professional stance, maintain its neutrality, staunchly resist political interference, and accept Taiwan's participation as soon as possible, thus recognizing the concrete and comprehensive contributions Taiwan has made to global flight safety and security. (E)