That’s how China has left Tai­wan in its ef­forts to at­tend the ICAO Avi­a­tion Sum­mit un­der way in Mon­treal

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Main­land China has wrenched Tai­wan’s ef­forts to at­tend the World Avi­a­tion Sum­mit now tak­ing place in Mon­treal, leav­ing the is­land high and dry – and far away from the As­sem­bly of the In­ter­na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ICAO), in its fifth day to­day.

Tai­wan an­nounced Septem­ber 23rd that it had not re­ceived an in­vi­ta­tion from the IACO to the Septem­ber 27 to Oc­to­ber 7 as­sem­bly, ac­cus­ing China of sab­o­tag­ing its par­tic­i­pa­tion in a global air safety event, on the al­tar of po­lit­i­cal differences.

Taipei has re­sponded with ex­pected fury to Bei­jing’s in­sis­tence that it en­ve­lope its re­quest to at­tend the meet­ing within the con­text of the One China Pol­icy, which has ex­cluded Tai­wan from mem­ber­ship of United Na­tions (UN) af­fil­i­ated or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The is­land ac­cuses the main­land of politi­cis­ing an avi­a­tion safety is­sue. But the main­land in­sists any ex­change re­gard­ing Tai­wan’s par­tic­i­pa­tion has to be within the con­text of a ‘1992’ Con­sen­sus that recog­nises Bei­jing’s ‘One China’ pol­icy.

Saint Lu­cia and other Caribbean and Latin Amer­i­can al­lies as­sured Taipei of their sup­port ahead of this week’s meet­ing. But Bei­jing’s an­nounce­ment last Fri­day that Tai­wan’ par­tic­i­pa­tion would have to be based on ac­cep­tance of the 24-year-old Con­sen­sus threw a big wrench in Taipei’s pro­pel­ler – and in mid-flight.

Tai­wan show­cased its civil avi­a­tion record around the world ahead of the meet­ing. It ac­com­mo­dates 14 in­ter­na­tional and four do­mes­tic routes. In 2015, Taipei pro­vided over 1.53 mil­lion in­stances of air traf­fic con­trol ser­vices and han­dled 58.16 mil­lion in­com­ing and out­go­ing pas­sen­gers.

Tai­wan also boasted its ‘high-den­sity routes’: as of June 2016, 56 coun­tries or ar­eas had signed air ser­vices agree­ments with Taipei; and in 2015, 74 air­lines of­fered ser­vices to and from Tai­wan, op­er­at­ing pas­sen­ger and cargo flights on 301 routes and con­nect­ing 135 cities around the world.

Also of­fered as proof of its readi­ness to fly by the rules of the ICAO was Tai­wan’s rapid level of re­cent air­port de­vel­op­ment. Its 17 air­ports served 58 mil­lion pas­sen­gers in 2015. The main Taoyuan In­ter­na­tional Air­port - the coun­try’s main in­ter­na­tional gate­way - han­dled 38 mil­lion pas­sen­gers in 2015.

In 2014, Taoyuan was ranked 11th and 5th, in terms of pas­sen­ger and cargo vol­umes, re­spec­tively. It also han­dled 35.4 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional pas­sen­gers. But Taoyuan is not the only air­port shown-off by Taipei. It’s sec­ond largest, Kaoh­si­ung In­ter­na­tional, has been po­si­tioned as the in­ter­na­tional air­port serv­ing south­ern Tai­wan.

With such im­pres­sive cre­den­tials, Tai­wan ap­pealed to Bei­jing to sup­port its bid to at­tend the ICAO’s As­sem­bly – for a sec­ond time.

Taipei was rep­re­sented at the last tri­en­nial sum­mit in 2013 and had high hopes of at­tend­ing again this year. It even guar­an­teed that it would play by Bei­jing’s rules, in­clud­ing again par­tic­i­pat­ing as ‘Chi­nese Taipei’.

Caribbean ci­ti­zens who have flown to Tai­wan will have no prob­lem giv­ing Taipei a pass­ing grade when it comes to Civil Avi­a­tion. Hun­dreds of Caribbean stu­dents from Belize, Saint Lu­cia, Saint Kitts and Ne­vis, and Saint Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines are un­der­tak­ing schol­ar­ship stud­ies in Tai­wan. Taiwanese air­lines (like China Air­lines and Eva Air) land them in New York,from where they con­tinue the jour­ney home.

Each stu­dent, as well as the var­i­ous Caribbean diplo­mats serv­ing in Taipei, would have un­re­servedly rec­om­mended that Tai­wan be al­lowed to at­tend the ICAO meet­ing. Like­wise the var­i­ous re­lated Heads of State and Gov­ern­ment and min­is­te­rial del­e­ga­tions that have landed at Taoyuan In­ter­na­tional.

But Bei­jing is on a widely dif­fer­ent light level. It in­sists that when Tai­wan at­tended in 2013 it was on the ba­sis of Taipei’s ac­cep­tance of the One China prin­ci­ple gov­ern­ing Cross Strait ties.

With­out say­ing so, the main­land told the is­land, quite loudly, that it would only get land­ing rights in Mon­treal if it did what it has so far re­fused to do – ac­cept the 1992 Con­sen­sus.

As a re­sult, Tai­wan’s high hopes never ac­tu­ally took flight, open­ing-up of what be­came an­other round in the long his­tory of Cross Strait po­lit­i­cal ping pong be­tween the main­land and the is­land, which share the same cul­ture, but don’t of­ten see things the same.

Never mind Tai­wan’s ab­sence from the Mon­treal World Avi­a­tion Sum­mit, the Sky Train at Taoyuan In­ter­na­tional Air­port will con­tinue to be used by Saint Lu­cian and other Caribbean stu­dents, diplo­mats and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who fly to Tai­wan. (Photo cour­tesy: Taoyuan In­ter­na­tional Air­port)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.