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Taiwan on course to regain global aviation body membership: president

TAIPEI -- President Ma Ying-jeou said Saturday that Taiwan is on course to gain membership in the United Nations-affiliated International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) after China responded positively to the bid at a summit.

Ma said on his Facebook page that former Vice President Lien Chan, who is attending the 20th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum's Economic Leaders' Meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, sent back good news after meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao who promised to help with Taiwan's ICAO bid “in an appropriate way.”

Lien was quoted by Ma as saying that “the door (to ICAO) is now opened” to Taiwan.

Lien, who is attending the APEC leadership meeting on behalf of President Ma, met with Hu Friday on the sidelines of the summit.

Taiwan was one of the founding members of the ICAO when the Convention on International Civil Aviation was signed in 1944 in Chicago, the same year ICAO was established, Ma said

Taiwan, however, was excluded from the Montreal-based organization after the country lost its U.N. seat in October 1971, Ma continued.

Taiwan's exclusion from ICAO means that it cannot receive first-hand information on international aviation standards and regulations.

Joining ICAO would help Taiwan remain in sync with the international aviation community in planning global aviation routes and in adjusting flight altitudes, among other practical benefits, he said.

In fact, Ma added, Taiwan's entry to ICAO will also assist the organization since more than 10 international aviation routes passing through the Taipei Flight Information Region and its Civil Aeronautics Administration provides services to over 1 million flights to maintain aviation safety and order.

ICAO, a specialized agency under the U.N., is aimed at promoting safety and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world.

It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, as well as for aviation environmental protection. It currently has 191 member states, according to its website.

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