US politicians warn against Taiwan’s exclusion from ICAO

Lawmakers release bipartisan statement saying political manipulation could worsen spread of coronavirus

U.S. Congressman Steve Chabot. (Facebook photo)

U.S. Congressman Steve Chabot. (Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Members of the U.S. House of Representatives sounded a bipartisan warning to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Thursday (Feb. 6), pointing out that excluding Taiwan from the United Nations (U.N.) agency would pose serious threats to fighting the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Led by Republican Michael McCaul and Democrat Eliot Engel, the U.S. lawmakers voiced their concerns in a letter over Taiwan's exclusion from ICAO, which oversees aviation standards and practices. They pointed out that air travel often serves as a major factor in pandemics spread.

Furthermore, the members urged ICAO to evaluate its decision to block social media accounts that raise concerns over Taiwan's exclusion. The lawmakers said Taiwan has the 11th busiest airport in the world and the ongoing battle against 2019-nCoV demonstrates the importance of including Taiwan in related conversations.

They stressed that denying Taiwan access to important information "recklessly jeopardizes" the health and safety of all 23 million Taiwanese citizens. The letter was signed by representatives, including: Ami Bera, Ted Yoho, Albio Sires, Steve Chabot, Gerald E. Connolly, and Mario Diaz-Balart.

The letter emphasizes that ICAO should include Taiwan as an observer and that global health and aviation safety cannot be political issues. It further highlights that ICAO should reexamine its social media policies and free itself from political manipulation, reported New Talk.

In an opinion piece published Sunday (Feb. 2) by Fox News, former secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price shared his views on Taiwan's exclusion from the World Health Organization (WHO). He noted that Taiwan has been "extremely responsible and transparent in its actions," but was refused participation at major information-sharing platforms by China and other nations nonetheless.