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Taiwan minister will not attend defense industry conference in U.S.

ROC Central News Agency

2018/09/24 17:11:49

Taipei, Sept. 24 (CNA) Defense minister Yen De-fa (嚴德發) will not attend an annual defense industry conference between Taiwan and the United States this year after the Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced Monday that instead, a deputy minister will attend the event.

Deputy Defense Minister Chang Guan-chung (張冠群) will attend the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference 2018 Oct. 28-30 in Annapolis, Maryland, the ministry said in a statement.

The announcement ended media speculation that Yen could be one of the few Taiwanese defense ministers to attend the meeting after the organizer, the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, sent him an invitation.

Since 2002, when the non-profit American organization held the first U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Taiwanese delegation has always been headed by a deputy defense minister, except for 2002 and 2008.

In 2002, then-Minister of National Defense Tang Yiau-ming (湯曜明) gave a keynote speech at the maiden conference. Six years later in 2008, then-Defense Minister Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) did the same at the 7th conference.

In the statement, the MND explained that the regular U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference is an interaction activity in which discussions are made by the relevant industries of the two sides on defense industry cooperation and development.

The conference is a "non-governmental platform," the ministry said.

This year, the talks at the conference will focus on issues concerning industrial cooperation and security, it said, so the gathering will be attended by Chang, who knows the defense industry well.

The ministry further said that it welcomes any activity that helps the development of the country's defense industry and will take the initiative to have a presence so that it can detail Taiwan's defense self-sufficiency policies and administrative stance.

It stressed that this will allow all the relevant U.S. sectors to know about Taiwan's needs for developing its national defense industry, hence boosting bilateral industrial cooperation and reinforcing Taiwan's self-defense momentum.

(By Lu Hsin-hui and Elizabeth Hsu)

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