After refusing to invite Taiwan and blocking Taiwanese reporters from a triennial air safety assembly, the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has reportedly warned participants against “speaking out for other countries.”

The assembly is held from Sept. 27-Oct. 7 at the ICAO headquarters in Montreal.

Paraguay’s ambassador to Canada Julio Cesar Arriola Ramirez told reporters at a dinner hosted by Kung Chung-chen (龔中誠), representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada, that the ICAO secretary general had warned them that their microphones would be muted if they tried to speak on behalf of Taiwan, Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reports.

However, the Chinese-language United Daily News reports that Solomon Islands Minister of Communications and Aviation Peter Shanel said he had not heard of such warnings. Shanel said that since he represented a sovereign country, no one could limit his freedom of speech.

UDN also reports that other countries with diplomatic ties to Taiwan that had intended to speak out for Taiwan at the assembly will still try to find a way to lobby for the country.

Ramirez said no one has spoken on behalf of Taiwan so far.

Meanwhile, representatives from Swaziland expressed their support for Taiwan's membership at ICAO during a meeting with the Taiwan civil aviation delegation in Montreal, the Chinese-language Liberty Times reports.

Fang Liu (柳芳) of China is the ICAO’s secretary general, and Beijing appears to have claimed responsibility for keeping Taiwan out of the ICAO assembly.

As many as 1.5 million flights carrying up to 58 million passengers pass through the Taipei Flight Information Region (FIR) every year.

In an op-ed in the Washington Times, Stanley Kao (高碩泰), Taiwan's representative to the U.S., also stressed the necessity for Taiwan to take part in the assembly.

“As aviation safety knows no boundaries and requires close cooperation of countries around the world, keeping Taiwan out for political reasons does not serve ICAO’s mission, and has left the global aviation security system incomplete,” Kao writes.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole