At the invitation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, the Republic of China (Taiwan) will attend the 38th Session of the Assembly as a guest of the President of the ICAO Council. This is a key development, as it marks the first time since the ROC lost its seat at the United Nations in 1971, that the nation has been officially invited to attend an ICAO meeting. Five years ago, the nation began attending the World Health Assembly, and it is noteworthy that Taiwan is again being invited to attend another meeting of a specialized agency of the United Nations.
Since 2009, the ROC government has focused on gaining professional, substantive, dignified, and meaningful participation in ICAO. To this end, it has been working to create favorable conditions and a suitable international environment. At last year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting, Leader’s Representative, former Vice President Lien Chan met with Hu Jintao, then the leader of mainland China, and called on the mainland to show goodwill over Taiwan’s participation in ICAO. This call met with a favorable response from Hu. The international community, meanwhile, has gradually come to recognize Taiwan’s long-term efforts at adhering to international flight norms. It has, moreover, recognized Taiwan’s importance to regional and international civil aviation as well as the necessity of its participation in ICAO. The executive and legislative branches of key countries, including the United States and European Union member states, have lent their support to these efforts. In just a few short years, the concerted work of both the ruling and opposition parties, an improving cross-strait relationship, and greater international support have come together and led to this positive development concerning ICAO. These, then, are the initial fruits of our efforts to achieve professional, substantive, dignified, and meaningful participation. The government of the Republic of China would like to take this opportunity to thank all who have supported or aided its efforts in this matter.
The invitation sent by the President of the ICAO Council was addressed to the Director General of the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), and used her official title. Since most countries are represented in the ICAO Assembly by the representatives of their agencies in charge of civil aviation affairs, the ROC CAA director general will be able to meet her counterparts at the meeting. By taking part in the Assembly, the ROC government will gain a better understanding of the development of international aviation standards and obtain important first-hand information on aviation safety in a more efficient, precise, and timely manner than has previously been possible. We will also have an opportunity to exchange views with national and international organizations in the civil aviation sector. It is therefore significant in that we will be able to make greater contributions to the international civil aviation system and further safeguard the safety and convenience of travelers from Taiwan and other countries.
Taking part in this year’s Assembly is only the first step in the ROC’s effort to gain meaningful participation in ICAO. Our government will not simply be content with current progress. Given that the ICAO Assembly is only held once every three years, we will continue to strive to participate in related ICAO technical and regional meetings based on this foundation and to accumulate consensus step-by-step, so as to strengthen our connections with the international aviation system and to meet ICAO’s goal of a seamless sky.
The signing of a fisheries agreement with Japan in April this year, the conclusion of an economic cooperation agreement with New Zealand in July, the resolution of a conflict with the Philippines over its killing of a crew member of the ROC fishing boat Guang Da Xing No. 28, the successful trip of ROC President Ma Ying-jeou to diplomatic partners in the Caribbean and South America in August, and now the concrete progress we have achieved in our endeavor to participate in ICAO, all stand as witness to the success of the ROC government’s viable diplomacy policy. This has not only expanded our international space, but also created a more positive image of the nation internationally. (E)