Ministry mulling delegation leader

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Sep 07, 2018 - Page 1

The Ministry of National Defense yesterday said it is weighing whether to have Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) attend the US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference in Maryland next month.

The leader of Taiwan’s delegation is to be decided based on the content of the conference and the rank of the US participants at the annual meeting, among other factors, the ministry said in a statement.

A legislative session that would require senior defense officials to be in Taipei is another factor to consider, it added.

The statement was issued after the US-Taiwan Business Council, which is organizing the event, confirmed that it has invited Yen to attend the meeting in Annapolis from Oct. 28 to Oct. 30.

Taiwan’s defense officials have attended the conference in the past, most recently in 2008, when then-minister of national defense Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) was present.

The conference has been held every year in the US since 2002 as a platform to discuss Taiwan’s national security needs, weapons procurement and defense cooperation with the US.

At the first conference in Florida, then-minister of national defense Tang Yiau-ming (湯曜明) gave the keynote address.

On other occasions, the delegation was led by the deputy defense minister.

It is to be the 17th event in a series of conferences addressing the future of US defense cooperation with Taiwan, the weapons procurement process and Taiwan’s defense and national security needs, the conference Web site said.