A visiting U.K. parliamentarian voiced support Saturday for Taiwan's participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), saying that political considerations should not get in the way of global aviation safety.
Nigel Evans, a member of the U.K. House of Commons and concurrently co-chair of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group, said that "it is incredibly regrettable" that Taiwan was not invited to attend the year's assembly of the ICAO.
The ICAO is a U.N. specialized agency responsible for establishing worldwide aviation policies. The session of the ICAO's 39th assembly is taking place Sept. 27-Oct. 7 at its headquarters in Montreal, Canada.
The assembly, the ICAO's sovereign body, meets once every three years to establish worldwide aviation policies for the following three years.
Despite its efforts to participate in this year's ICAO assembly, Taiwan -- which is not an ICAO member -- was not invited to the event. It is widely believed that this was due to objections from Beijing.
During an interview with CNA, Evans said that he was "greatly disappointed" that Taiwan is not being represented at the ongoing ICAO conference in Canada.
He noted that the U.K., France, Germany and the United States all supported Taiwan's participation in the ICAO. "It is incredibly regrettable" that the ICAO has decided not to invite Taiwan, he said.
Asked how the U.K. parliament will help Taiwan with its ICAO bid, he said he will be raising the issue of Taiwan's participation in the ICAO with U.K. Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling.
Evans, who is leading a British parliamentary delegation to Taiwan from Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, said he wants to know why Taiwan was not invited this year.
A big question would be what is the difference between 2016 and 2013 -- when Taiwan was invited to attend the ICAO assembly -- he said.
In his view, the only difference would be that there are "far more aircraft and passengers" flying into and over through Taiwan's airspace than in 2013, he said. Thus, "it is more important today than it was three years ago that Taiwan participates in this aviation conference," he said.
Just days before the ICAO assembly opened, Taiwan expressed regret that it had not been invited by the ICAO to attend its assembly this year.
China, one of the ICAO's 191 members, said that Taiwan could not attend the ICAO assembly because its Democratic Progressive Party government has refused to recognize the "1992 consensus."
Asked about that issue, Evans said that "any artificial political considerations" should not be allowed to get in the way of global efforts to maintain aviation safety around the world.
In September 2013, Taiwan's then-Civil Aeronautics Administration Director-General Shen Chi (??) attended the meeting of the ICAO's 38th assembly as a special guest of then-ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, under the designation Chinese Taipei -- the name Taiwan often has to use when taking part in international events.
Before Shen's participation in 2013, the last time Taiwan attended an ICAO assembly was in 1971, when it participated under the name Republic of China, just months before it lost its seat at the United Nations to Beijing.
Cross-strait relations have cooled since President Tsai Ing-wen (???) took office May 20, due mainly to China's insistence that the "1992 consensus" remains the political foundation for the development of cross-strait exchanges, and the Tsai administration's reluctance to accept that.
The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit understanding reached between Taiwan -- then under a Kuomintang government -- and China in 1992 that there is only one China, with both sides free to interpret what that means.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel