TAIPEI: Taiwan said Friday it had been blocked by China from attending a major United Nations aviation meeting, the latest setback to its troubled campaign for international recognition.
Self-ruling Taiwan is routinely prevented from attending global forums by Beijing, which still sees it as part of its territory requiring reunification.
But the island had been hoping to attend the triennial meeting of the UN aviation agency in Montreal later this month, after it was admitted in 2013 in a major breakthrough.
That invite came under previous Beijing-friendly president Ma Ying-jeou.
But ties with China have rapidly turned frosty under new leader Tsai Ing-wen who took office in May.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), which handles relations with Beijing, said Friday the island had not been admitted to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) meeting “due to political interference from China”.
“(It) is a great loss for international aviation safety and the public’s right to welfare protection,” the MAC said in a statement.
Taiwan was a founding member of the ICAO but was thrown out in 1971 when it lost its UN seat to China.
The agency appointed China’s Fang Liu as secretary-general last year.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said the ICAO had made the “wrong decision”.
“The government expresses strong regret and dissatisfaction,” foreign minister David Lee told reporters.
“It is extremely unfair treatment.”
Beijing has cut off all official communication with Taiwan since the new government took office, putting pressure on Tsai to adhere to the concept that there is only “one China”, which she has refused to do.
In another diplomatic snub in July, Taiwanese officials were barred from a UN Food and Agriculture Organization meeting, allegedly due to pressure from China.
The island is one of Asia’s busiest aviation hubs, ranking 11th in the world in terms of passenger traffic and sixth for cargo in 2015, according to government figures. AFP