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Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Washington, DC – Congressman Howard L. Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today hailed House passage of a resolution calling for Taiwan to be granted observer status at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an international organization dedicated to ensuring safe and efficient air transportation around the globe.
To date, Taiwan has been excluded from meaningful participation in ICAO. This prevents Taiwan from remaining up-to-date on international aviation standards and denies them access to important technical assistance.
On the House floor, Berman made the case for Taiwan’s participation in the ICAO: “Taiwan has made every effort to comply with ICAO’s standards, but their continued exclusion not only hurts Taiwan—it puts the entire international aviation system at risk. Taiwan’s exclusion has prevented ICAO from developing a truly global strategy to address security threats.”
In recent months, Berman has advocated on behalf of the Taiwanese-American community at both the state and Federal level. In May, Berman compelled the California state government to change its online voter registration system to allow Taiwanese-Americans to list “Taiwan” as their country of birth, rather than “Taiwan, Province of China.” Additionally, in July, U.S. Homeland Security Department agreed, at Berman’s request, to change I-94 customs document reflecting “Taiwan” as Country of Citizenship, not “China (Taiwan)”
The full text of Berman’s statement on the House floor follow:
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of S. Con. Res. 17, and I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
I’d like to thank the sponsor of this legislation, the Senator from New Jersey, Mr. Menendez and the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, for their leadership on this issue.
This resolution expresses the sense of Congress that Taiwan should be accorded observer status in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) (pronounced Eye-Kay-Oh).
Taiwan has made significant progress in its economic and political development. Today, Taiwan is a leading trade partner of the United States and stands as a beacon of democracy in Asia.
However, Taiwan has been excluded from meaningful participation in ICAO, an international organization dedicated to ensuring safe and efficient air transportation around the globe.
Taiwan clearly deserves to be brought into the ICAO as an observer – a status specifically recognized under ICAO’s own rules.
Taiwan has jurisdiction over airspace comprising 176,000 square nautical miles and provides air traffic control services to over 1.3 million flights each year. It has the eighth largest airport in the world by cargo volume, and the eighteenth largest by the number of international passengers.
Taiwan’s exclusion from ICAO has impeded Taiwan’s efforts to maintain civil aviation practices that keep up with rapidly evolving international standards. It is unable to even contact ICAO for up-to-date information on aviation standards and norms. Nor can it receive ICAO’s technical assistance in implementing new regulations or participate in ICAO technical and academic seminars.
Despite these impediments, Taiwan has made every effort to comply with ICAO’s standards, but their continued exclusion not only hurts Taiwan—it puts the entire international aviation system at risk. Indeed, Taiwan’s exclusion has prevented ICAO from developing a truly global strategy to address security threats.
With this resolution, Congress calls on the international community to grant Taiwan observer status at the ICAO—not only to help Taiwan, but to ensure ICAO can fulfill its own mission and address threats to aviation security. We call on the U.S. government to take a leading role at ICAO to assist Taiwan in gaining that status, and look forward to working with our administration officials to track the development of these efforts.
I urge my colleagues to support this resolution and I reserve the balance of my time.