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Aviation body bid forecast to progress in '13

TAIPEI--Taiwan is expecting progress to be made next year on its bid to participate in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a high-level foreign affairs official said yesterday.

Taiwan is likely to have an opportunity to participate in the ICAO Council meeting to be held in 2013, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official's remarks came after Chinese President Hu Jintao promised during a meeting with Lien Chan, Taiwan's envoy to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, on the sidelines of the APEC meeting in early September, to consider the possibility of helping Taiwan with its ICAO bid.

China often suppresses Taiwan's international presence, as it considers Taiwan to be part of its territory. However, the hostility between the two sides has decreased significantly since President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008.

“This is a positive development,” the official said, adding that objections from China used to be a major hindrance to Taiwan's participation in international organizations.

In addition to improving Taipei-Beijing ties, Taiwan needs support from “like minded countries” such as the United States and Japan to expand its international space, he added.

Japan, the European Union and the U.S. have all expressed support for Taiwan's inclusion in the ICAO, the official said.

Taiwan will continue efforts to push for its bid to participate in the Montreal-based aviation organization, he added.

The ICAO, a specialized agency under the United Nations, promotes safety and the orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world.

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

Meanwhile, the official said that Taiwan is expected to conclude agreements on reciprocal working holiday programs with various countries in Europe in the near future.

So far, Taiwan has working holiday agreements with Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United Kingdom, which allow young people to work and travel in these countries for up to two years in some cases.

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