Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, as one of the Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Taiwan Caucus, I rise in strong support of S. Con. Res. 17. I particularly want to commend Chairwoman ROS-LEHTINEN and Ranking Member BERMAN for bringing this concurrent resolution to the floor.
Additionally, I would like to applaud the work and leadership of our other Co-Chairs--Ms. BERKLEY of Nevada, Mr. DIAZ-BALART of Florida, and Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia--for their work supporting our relationship with Taiwan.
Since its inception in 1947, the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, has been a great resource for the international community to develop and foster the most efficient and safest means of airline travel across the world. In the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attacks 11 years ago today on September 11, 2001, it was the ICAO that convened a conference to endorse a uniform international strategy to ensure aviation safety throughout the world.
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, our friends in Taiwan have been excluded from participation in the ICAO since 1971. Not only has that diminished Taiwan's ability to stay at the cutting edge of aviation, it has also presented obstacles to the international community as a whole because the ICAO cannot completely fulfill its mission to meet the needs of all people in efficient and safe air travel.
Taiwan has a very large footprint within commercial aviation that warrants its inclusion within the ICAO. The Taipei Flight Information Region covers airspace of 176,000 square nautical miles and provides air traffic control services to over 1.3 million flights annually. Additionally, there are over 174,000 international flights carrying more than 35 million passengers that fly in and out of Taiwan each year. With this high volume of air traffic, Taiwan certainly deserves to have a seat at the table of the ICAO--at least as an observer.
Mr. Speaker, this is precisely what this concurrent resolution seeks to accomplish. Providing Taiwan with meaningful participation at the ICAO only benefits both the Taiwanese and the international community as a whole. Due to our longstanding relationship and respect for our friends in Taiwan, I urge all of my colleagues to support S. Con. Res. 17.