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Public Statements

Supporting Observer Status For Taiwan in International Civil Aviation Organization

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise as a proud cosponsor of this important resolution, which calls upon the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, to accord observer status to Taiwan.

Can there be any doubt that Taiwan, which provides air traffic control services for well over 1.3 million flights per year, needs to be a part of the international organization responsible for air safety and security? Is this especially not true in a post-September 11 world where security in the skies is of paramount importance to not only the American people but to all across the globe?

The provincial and shortsighted manipulations of Beijing's leaders who seek to deny Taiwan's international space cannot stand in the way of airport safety and security. It is time to bring to an end Beijing's petty parlor games of one-upmanship and humiliating slights in the running of international organizations.

If the alleged thaw in cross-Strait relations is to have any true significance, it must and should begin in the meeting rooms of ICAO and other international organizations. Those passengers, including our American citizens, who travel on any one of the almost 200,000 international flights headed to and from Taiwan every year expect and deserve every protection they can be afforded.

The time to let Taiwan begin to have constructive and meaningful participation in ICAO is long overdue. The United States State Department, as this resolution suggests, must assume a leading role to ensure that this happens as quickly as possible. The security in the skies of the people of Taiwan, of the people of the United States, and the citizens of the world demand no less.

So I strongly, Mr. Speaker, and enthusiastically urge my colleagues to support this important resolution.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

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