Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said Sept. 8 that he welcomes the support of Beijing for Taiwan’s bid to join the International Civil Aviation Organization.
“This goal cannot be achieved overnight, but as former Vice President Lien Chan said, the door is now open,” Ma wrote on his Facebook page. “With the ROC government continuing to work steadily toward this end, I believe such efforts will deliver fruitful results in the future.”
Ma’s remarks came in response to reports earlier in the day that mainland Chinese leader Hu Jintao said Beijing will “seriously study” the possibility of helping Taiwan participate in the ICAO in an appropriate fashion. Hu’s comments were made during a meeting with Lien on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in Vladivostok, Russia.
Taiwan can be a valuable and constructive partner of the ICAO and assist in the safe and sustainable development of international aviation and an integrated navigation system, Ma said.
It is important for Taiwan to participate in the U.N. specialized agency and keep abreast of the latest international aviation information, especially as the Taipei Flight Information Region provides air traffic control services for more than 1 million flights per year, he added.
The ROC government has sought to take part in ICAO activities as an observer since 2009. But these efforts have come to naught as the nation is not a U.N. member, a key requirement for participation.
Lien, who is serving for the fifth consecutive year as Ma’s APEC envoy, said in a post-meeting news conference that Hu was positive on Taiwan’s ICAO bid. The former vice president urged Taipei and Beijing to continue discussing how to expand Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, which was a goal agreed by both leaders during their March 2005 meeting in mainland China.
On the all-important subject of the economy, Lien and Hu mapped out a timetable for follow-up negotiations under the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) on trade in goods and services.
The need for Taiwan to fast-track economic cooperation agreements and further participate in regional economic integration was also stressed by Lien, who said this would benefit cross-strait economic exchanges.