End of inadmissibility for Taiwan at the 41st assembly of the ICAO

After the letter, the wait. Taiwan’s government was still awaiting a response on Monday to its request for an official invitation sent earlier this year to the chairman of the council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Salvatore Sciacchitano, to allow the island to take leaves at the 41e meeting of the organization which opens Tuesday in Montreal.

Living under the growing threat of communist China and the regime of Xi Jinping, which dreams of bringing the autonomous and democratic Asian territory back into its fold, Taiwan is seeking to regain a voice within international organizations, including the ICAO. His government believes that the security of its airspace, regularly violated by Chinese military maneuvers, and that of the millions of passengers who pass through it each year are at stake.

“We are going to work until the last moment to obtain the right to meaningful participation in this assembly, summed up Monday in an interview with the To have to Harry Ho-jen Tseng, representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada. China claims to represent Taiwan in international forums, but that couldn’t be more wrong. Taiwan is not a simple airspace, and its participation in ICAO is becoming more and more necessary”.

During a press conference held in Montreal, a stone’s throw from ICAO headquarters, the Deputy Director General of the Taiwanese Civil Aviation Administration, Jiunn-liang Lin, insisted on recalling Monday morning the independence of the island’s air system which, since 1949, has operated independently, far from that of communist China, from which Taiwan separated more than 70 years ago. In addition to its 17 airports, including 3 international ones, Taiwan has 271 aircraft registered at home and 8 airlines. Prior to the pandemic, the territory saw nearly 72 million passengers pass through its airport facilities.

Civil Aviation at Risk

« Last August, everyone remembers, China unilaterally decreed the closure of seven air zones over Taiwan, due to military maneuvers [tenues dans la foulée de la visite controversée de la politicienne américaine Nancy Pelosi, sur l’île], he recalled. This jeopardizes civil aviation in Taiwan, and we ask ICAO to recognize this risk, as well as the danger that the exclusion of Taiwan from its assembly may represent. »

In 2013, the Asian island was granted special guest status at the 38e Assembly of the agency specialized in aviation safety and standards of the United Nations. « What we’re asking for today is nothing new, nothing we’ve ever had, » said Harry Ho-jen Tseng.

However, since 2016, and the coming to power of a nationalist and separatist government in Taipei, Beijing is now putting pressure on international organizations to silence and constrain the positions of the democratic island on the international scene. This pressure goes a long way. It is illustrated by the systematic rejection of visitors and even journalists presenting a Taiwanese passport at the door of UN institutions, including at its headquarters in New York.

“It is a reality very little known to the international community, continues the representative of the island in Canada, but it is the unfair reality that the Taiwanese must face. It is a violation of human rights, and it should not be tolerated.”

Resolution 2758

Joined by The duty, the presidency of the ICAO defended itself on Monday from preventing Taiwan from participating in its meetings, recalling that the « nation-states participating in the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Council of the ICAO have officially established that Taiwan is a territory under the authority of China,” a spokesperson said. The thing was provoked by resolution 2758 adopted in 1971 to restore the legitimate rights of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations. Ironically, until then, it was Taiwan, founded by the government in exile of Chiang Kai-shek after the victory of the communists during the civil war in China, which represented mainland China in international bodies.

As for the invitation that was made to Taiwan to be an observer in 2013, the ICAO indicates that it was clear at the time that « this decision had been taken only once and in no way created case a precedent”.

Taiwan, placed at 8e rank of the Democracy Index, four places ahead of Canada, has stepped up its campaign since last February to strengthen its support and recognition on the international scene. The war launched by Russia against Ukraine has amplified the urgency and need for such a quest, with the authoritarian regime in Beijing also raising the specter of an invasion of Taiwan.

“There are more and more countries that are speaking out in support of Taiwan, and we thank them for that, says Harry Ho-jen Tseng, while hoping a lot from the upcoming debates within the ICAO for this recognition, specifies- he. We are making progress in increasing our representation in international institutions, and this should continue. »

In 2019, the G7 Foreign Ministers supported in a joint statement « the substantial participation of all active members of the international aviation community in ICAO forums », recalling that « the exclusion of some of its members from political purposes », to which Taiwan is subject, « compromises aviation safety and security. At the time, however, the organization did not offer an attentive ear to this request, due to the barriers imposed by the General Secretariat of the ICAO, then in the hands of the Chinese Fang Liu.

The context is now different with an organization led, since August 2021, by the Colombian Juan Carlos Salazar.

Barely 13 out of 193 UN member states have official international relations with Taiwan which, despite having the status of a democratic sovereign state and a government independent of that of Beijing elected by its people, still does not have the legal status necessary to represent its 23.5 million inhabitants in international organisations.

However, the territory is more populated than 70% of ICAO member countries.

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