U.S. encourages constructive cross-strait engagement: official

Washington encourages the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to engage each other on the basis of dignity and respect, a senior U.S. State Department official said Friday, after Taiwan was not invited to attend an upcoming International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assembly, apparently due to China's objections.

The United States has an abiding interest in cross-strait dialogue, stability and peace and in supporting Taiwan as it seeks to expand its contributions to addressing global challenges, said Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific.

"Where there are steps by either side to reduce tensions and to foster constructive dialogue and engagement, we welcome it, and we encourage the two sides to engage on the basis of dignity and respect," Russel said during a briefing at the New York Foreign Press Center, in response to a question on Taiwan's failed ICAO bid.

He reiterated that Washington supports Taiwan's meaningful participation in the ICAO and in international organizations where statehood is not a criteria for membership.

"Aviation safety, aviation security, aviation efficiency are matters of importance to all of us, and we think that all interested stakeholders can play a positive role in ensuring that standards and regulations are met around the world," he said.

The ICAO is a United Nations specialized agency responsible for establishing worldwide aviation policies.

The 39th ICAO assembly will be held from Sept. 27 to Oct. 7 at the ICAO's headquarters in Montreal, Canada, and Taiwan's Foreign Minister David Lee (???) confirmed Friday that Taiwan had not been invited to attend the meeting.

In 2013, Taiwan was represented at the 38th ICAO assembly by Shen Chi (??), then-director-general of the Civil Aeronautics Administration, who was invited as a special guest of then-ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez.

That marked Taipei's first representation at the ICAO assembly since losing its seat in the United Nations to Beijing in 1971.

Cross-strait relations have cooled since President Tsai Ing-wen (???) took office on May 20, and opposition from Beijing is widely believed to be the main reason behind the ICAO's decision to not invite Taiwan this year.

Accusing the new government of refusing to recognize the "1992 consensus" on "one China," Beijing has suspended official dialogue with Taipei since Tsai was sworn in.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel