Mon, May 14, 2018 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: MND sees defense self-sufficiency as priority

The Ministry of National Defense sees the rapid build-up of the military’s operational capabilities as its top priority and would like to see efforts to create a self-sufficient defense industry receive more funding than the procurement of US arms, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa said in an interview with Liberty Times’ (sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) staff reporters Aaron Tu, Huang Wei-chu and Lo Tien-pin

Yen: The Taiwan-US Defense Business Forum and the US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference are both organized by non-governmental entities. They are the platforms for the defense industries of the two nations to cooperate. We expect to see topics pertinent to defense industry cooperation discussed at these events.

The US-Taiwan Defense Business Forum is scheduled [this month] in Kaohsiung, the first time the event has been hosted in Taiwan.

The US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference in the second half of this year is in fact a semi-official function. It provides our industries with the opportunity to followup on cooperation in the US. The conference will be productive for arms procurement and defense self-sufficiency.

The military will make the best use of this opportunity with the nation’s companies.

We welcome the passage into law of the US’ 2018 National Defense Authorization Act and Taiwan Travel Act. Military exchanges between the two nations are already very close and frequent.

We are idiscussing the types of activities our officials and armed forces will be able to participate in; they might include military exercises and humanitarian operations, or other types of drills related to humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, we are seeking to implement and improve joint activities that the governments have approved.

Regarding the Trump administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy, our government has repeatedly emphasized to the US government that Taiwan should play a more active role in maintaining regional security. Freedom, democracy, openness and human rights are the core values of our nation.

None of our neighboring counties should overlook this fact. The virtuous are never alone; as we safeguard democratic values, we will gain the support of other nations.

As for the exchange of officials, if the US extends an invitation to us, I would absolutely go to the US. There is nothing to ponder here.

Anything that will strengthen the military capabilities of our nation, any form of exchange and cooperation, is a welcome development.

Translated by staff writer Jonathan Chin

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