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October, 1, 2016

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Taiwan won't get ICAO invite: gov't

President Tsai Ing-wen Friday described the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)'s failure to issue an invitation to Taiwan as "extremely unfair treatment."

"Taiwan's absence from the forum will be a great loss to the international community's aviation security," she added.

The ICAO's snub is one of the latest signs that mainland China is exerting pressure on the independence-leaning Tsai administration.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) said in a statement that Taiwan's exclusion from the assembly "was entirely caused by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-led government."

Taiwan will only be allowed to participate in international organizations on the precondition that it accepts the "one China" policy.

The island's attendance in 2013 under the moniker "Chinese Taipei Civil Aeronautics Administration" was only possible because of cross-strait negotiations under the backdrop of the "1992 Consensus," TAO said.

"What the DPP administration must do now is reflect on why it was possible for Taiwan to attend three years ago," the statement read.

Unjust Treatment

Tsai made the remarks while receiving a European Parliament trade delegation. During the meeting, Tsai sought continued European support for Taiwan's participation in international organizations such as the ICAO.

The aviation industry in Taiwan is very active, Tsai said. Every year, 1.5 million flights and 58 million passengers land in Taiwan.

"Aviation security is a very important aviation rights issue," she said, stressing that no one should be excluded from the security network due to their political background.

Over the years, Taiwan has attempted to maintain security in the region through fragmented information, Tsai went on. "This is insufficient and unfair treatment."

Tsai's statement was echoed by Foreign Minister David Lee, who said during a separate event, "This is a wrong decision — it is severely unjust treatment of Taiwan."

Aviation security is an apolitical issue and no political considerations should obstruct work that could save lives, Lee said.

"We hope this instance is an individual case," Lee said when responding to media questions.

The minister said during a legislative session Friday that the U.N. agency would not be issuing an invitation to Taiwan for the triennial ICAO assembly, which will be held from Sept. 27 to Oct. 7 at the organization's headquarters in Montreal.

A Mainland Affairs Council statement also called on mainland China's blockage of Taiwan's presence in international organizations an act that has "harmed Taiwanese nationals' feelings."

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President Tsai Ing-wen condemned the ICAO's failure to issue an invitation to Taiwan while receiving a European Parliament delegation, Friday, Sept. 23. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Office)

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