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Sun, Feb 24, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Tang Yao-ming confirms he has been invited to US

AP , TAIPEI

Minister of National Defense Tang Yao-ming (湯曜明) has been invited to attend a conference in the US amid growing military exchanges between the allies, officials said yesterday.

Tang confirmed that he received the invitation by the private US-Taiwan Council during an inspection tour of navy fleets in southern Taiwan on Friday, ministry officials said.

If Tang attends the meeting to be held March in St. Petersburg, Florida, he will be the first Taiwanese minister of national defense to visit the US since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1979.

Ministry spokesman Huang Sui-sheng (黃穗生), has said Tang would like to attend the conference to discuss Taiwan's defense needs, but that a number of issues would have to be considered. He did not elaborate.

Washington has yet to indicate whether it would approve the visit. The US-Taiwan Council is a private group formed in 1976 to develop trade and business relations between Taiwan and the US.

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