Deputy defense minister invited to US conference

By Brian Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Jan 17, 2003 - Page 4

Deputy Defense Minister for Armament Affairs General Chen Chao-ming (陳肇敏) has been invited to attend the 2003 US-Taiwan defense industry conference that is to be held Feb. 12 to Feb. 14 in the US, according to information provided on the official Web site of the conference organizer.

Chen is on the list of Taiwan defense officials that the US-Taiwan Business Council has announced on its official Web site as invited speakers for its conference.

Chen is to deliver a keynote address at the conference that is to be held in San Antonio, Texas.

If he goes, Chen would become the second Taiwan defense leader to attend the annual defense conference held by the council.

Minister of National Defense Tang Yao-ming (湯曜明) made history last year when he became the first Taiwan defense minister to pay a formal visit to the US since the break of formal diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1979.

The history-making occasion was a "defense summit" conference held by the US-Taiwan Business Council.

Chief of the General Staff Admiral Li Chieh (李傑) was initially the highest-ranked Taiwan defense official on the invitation list for the conference, but he was later replaced by Tang as the top representative to the meeting.

The Ministry of National Defense yesterday declined to confirm or deny Chen's upcoming visit to the US. A defense ministry spokesman, Major-General Huang Sui-sheng (黃穗生) said he had not been informed about Chen attending the conference.

"Although the council has announced on its Web site that Chen is to appear at the conference, we really do not know whether Chen is to go as they said," Huang said.