Today, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee's Ranking member, introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1151) that calls for the Secretary of State to endorse Taiwan's entry into the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Chairman Royce said: "For too long, Taiwan has been excluded from international organizations. Despite being home to the world's 10th busiest airport and over 1 million flights annually, Taiwan has been kept out of an organization that aims to promote safe and efficient air travel. The millions of passengers traveling to and from Taiwan each year are greatly disserviced by Taiwan's exclusion. With visa waiver travel in effect and increasing traffic at one of the busiest airports, air safety should be paramount. That's why I've joined Ranking Member Engel in introducing this important legislation. A key meeting is scheduled this fall -- this bill pushes the State Department to get active and secure Taiwan's entry into the organization."
Ranking Member Engel said: "With this bill, Congress is calling for the United States to take a leading role at the ICAO in helping Taiwan gain observer status. Taiwan clearly deserves to be brought into the ICAO as an observer and has made every effort to comply with the organization's standards. Their continued exclusion not only hurts Taiwan, it puts the entire international aviation system at risk. We look forward in working with administration officials on developing a strategy to help Taiwan become an observer to the ICAO."
Last year, Congress granted visa waiver travel from Taiwan to the United States. This allows visitors from Taiwan to travel to the U.S. without delay. As a result, air traffic has increased. Specifically, the legislation directs the State Department to develop and execute a strategy to secure Taiwan's entry into ICAO's triennial Assembly, to be held this September in Montreal, Canada. It also requires the State Department to actively seek other ICAO member states' support for Taiwan's participation.