MND asks US for reciprocal transfers of key technology

MUTUAL BENEFIT: An official said he told US authorities at a meeting in California that the nation would like US purchases in return for Taiwan's

CNA , LOS ANGELES

Thu, Sep 22, 2005 - Page 3

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) has asked the US to make reciprocal technology transfers or purchases in its arms dealings with Taiwan, a Taiwanese official said Tuesday.

Vice Minister of National Defense Hou Shou-yeh (霍守業) said he has taken advantage of the just-concluded Taiwan-US defense industry conference in San Diego to convey to the US authorities Taiwan's desire for reciprocity in its arms deals with the US.

Noting that other government departments have consistently asked foreign suppliers to make reciprocal purchases of Taiwan products or technology transfers whenever they sign major procurement contracts, Hou said the MND will follow this practice in its future arms dealings with the US to upgrade Taiwan's defense technology and production capacity.

Meanwhile, Hou said he had smooth communications with US defense officials during the two-day Taiwan-US defense industry meeting.

"I didn't feel any pressure from the US side," Hou said, adding that in additional to face-to-face talks during the meeting, MND officials maintained smooth regular contacts with US defense authorities.

That comment came despite the blunt warning to Taiwan from a senior US defense official on Monday that Taiwan must show a commitment to its own defense -- for example, by pushing through the long-stalled US arms procurement bill -- if it expects the US to come to its defense in a cross-strait conflict.

Following the defense industry conference, Hou was scheduled to travel to a US military base yesterday to get first-hand information about Taiwan military officers receiving training there.

Hou and other MND staff members attending the conference are scheduled to wrap up their trip today.

More than 100 people took part in the conference, including Taiwan and US think tank officials and military specialists, as well as weapons researchers and military officials. The two-day meeting was sponsored by the US-Taiwan Business Council, a non-governmental organization that groups US companies with interests in Taiwan.

The two-day meeting focused on the study of the current situation of US-Taiwan military cooperation and the outlook for Taiwan's future defense needs.