As the co-chairs of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group, we are dismayed to learn that China’s civil aviation authority unilaterally announced on 4 January 2018 that it would activate four air routes along its southeast coast without prior consultation with Taiwan. The new northbound M503 route with its three east-west extension routes, which are critically close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait, are very likely to endanger aviation safety and security and to interfere with flight services in Taipei Flight Information Region (FIR).
We regarded the unilateral move by China as an irresponsible act that not only seriously affects aviation safety but also damages the cross-strait status quo. Beijing’s expansion of civil aviation routes has violated the consensus reached between Taiwan and China in 2015. Thus, we consider this violation in a way to change the cross-strait status quo. Moreover, there is possibility that a potential risk of military crisis could emerge in the Taiwan Strait, constituting a threat to the peace and security of the East Asia region.
According to Document No. 9426 of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), flight routes such as M503 and its extensions should only be launched following consultations with neighboring parties. Thus, China’s unilateral launch of new flight routes violates both ICAO regulations and international norms.
As ensuring aviation safety and maintaining peace and stability in the region remain the common concern of all parties concerned, we support the maintenance of the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and urge China to put an end immediately to its use of the above-mentioned air routes. There is a need for China to give priority to restoring negotiations with Taiwan on the flight paths as soon as possible.
Lord Steel of Aikwood Nigel Evans MP
As the co-chairs of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group, we have for many years sought to promote the bilateral relationship between Taiwan and the UK. In particular we have supported Taiwan’s participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), as we believe this to be in the interests of the UK and the wider world.
Therefore we were dismayed to learn that Taiwan was not invited by the president of the ICAO Council to attend the 39th ICAO Assembly this year. We believe that the international community has lost out as a result.
The Convention on International Civil Aviation established the ICAO, with an objective of “…the planning and development of international air transport so as to …meet the needs of the peoples of the world for safe, regular, efficient and economical air transport.”
Taiwan’s Flight Information Region (FIR) covers 180,000 square nautical miles and provides services to nearly 1.53 million controlled flights carrying 58 million travellers entering, leaving, or transiting through Taiwan every year. The Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport – the main international gateway – was ranked 11th and 5th, respectively, in terms of passenger and cargo volumes. Taiwan needs to participate in the ICAO Assembly to ensure it can comply with up to date standards, and receive technical and academic assistance from the ICAO.
We support Taiwan’s continued attendance at the ICAO Assembly and other regional meetings. Taiwan, with 74 airlines offering services to and from the island, operates passenger and cargo flights on 301 routes and connects 135 cities around the world. It cannot be allowed to become a “gap,” and be left outside the global aviation networks.
DAVID STEEL (Lord Steel of Aikwood)
The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:
“The High Representative warmly welcomes the meeting between high officials in charge of Cross-Strait relations from both sides of the Taiwan Strait taking place today, 11 February, in Nanjing. The event demonstrates the level of trust reached since the current process of rapprochement was established in 2008, with increasing people-to-people exchanges, practical cooperation and economic links. The High Representative encourages both sides to continue to take initiatives that further develop Cross-Strait relations in a peaceful way.”
See also statement from the co-chairs of the British-Taiwanese APPG:
In an interview on June 4 with Taiwan’s Central News Agency, Lord Faulkner of Worcester and Lord Steel of Aikwood, co-chairs of the British-Taiwanese APPG, expressed support for the ROC’s position on the recent shooting attack on the Taiwan fishing boat Guang Da Xing No. 28 (GDX 28) by a Philippine government vessel.
They also said that the actions of the Philippine government vessel, which pursued the Taiwan fishing boat for a considerable number of minutes in the overlapping exclusive economic zones between the ROC and the Philippines and fired nearly 60 bullets at the Taiwan fishing boat, could not be tolerated in a civilized society and were inexcusable.
See Press Release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan).
Chairman of the APPG, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, uses the medium of the Hansard discussion forum Lords of the Blog to draw attention to the removal of the national Taiwanese flag from the Regent Street Olympic display.
TAIWAN’S PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANISATION AND UN FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
Date tabled: 10.10.2011
Primary sponsor: Andrew Rosindell
Sponsors: David Amess, Peter Bottomley, Jim Dobbin, Mike Hancock, Jim Shannon
That this House supports Taiwan’s continued efforts to participate in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO); commends the fact that the European Parliament unanimously passed a resolution on 11 May 2011 reiterating its support for Taiwan’s meaningful participation as an observer in relevant international organisations, such as the UNFCCC, World Health Organisation and ICAO; recognises that Taiwan is a key transport hub in international air travel, serving more than one million flights and 40 million passengers per year; notes that Taiwan suffers unnecessary obstacles in terms of remaining up to date with the latest ICAO standards and procedures as a result of its exclusion, which leads to risks to international aviation safety; further recognises that, being deeply integrated in the global economy, Taiwan both contributes to and is affected by global warming; acknowledges that Taiwan can contribute to and benefit from global coordination against climate change via participation in the UNFCCC; and calls on the Government to support efforts for Taiwan to be invited to participate in the meetings and activities of ICAO and UNFCCC as an observer.