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U.S. expects more cooperation with Taiwan in disaster relief: source

U.S. expects more cooperation with Taiwan in disaster relief: source

Williamsburg, Virginia Oct. 6 (CNA) The United States reportedly expects closer cooperation with Taiwan in disaster relief even as it seeks better military ties with China, according to an attendee of the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference Monday. The attendee, who wished to remain unnamed, said that Todd C. Chapman -- principal deputy assistant secretary of the State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs -- said at a dinner during the annual conference that the U.S. rebalance to Asia is a long-term commitment. Chapman was said to have stressed Washington's cooperative ties with its Asia-Pacific partners and said that even as the U.S. government continues to strengthen military ties with China, it will not sacrifice ties with Taiwan to do so. Taiwan's Deputy Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng, head of the Taiwanese delegation at the conference, laid out Taiwan's long-term plans for defense. At the opening ceremony, Chiu said Taiwan will seek foreign arms procurement while also making efforts in indigenous weaponry and equipment to demonstrate its determination in self-defense. One focus of the conference, now in its 13th year, has been Taiwan's indigenous submarine programs. In 2001, then-U.S. President George W. Bush moved to help Taiwan acquire eight diesel-electric submarines but there has been little progress since then, prompting Taiwan to seek its own solution. Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Capt. Shao Wei-yang, head of Taiwan's Naval Shipbuilding and Development Center, said that efforts to create an indigenous submarine would see some progress if the U.S. defense industry plays a part. Shao said he believes that Washington would agree to allow U.S. defense companies to take part in the development. Taiwanese defense officials presented submarine plans during the conference, which left openings for possible U.S. participation by providing combat and periscope systems, offering technology consulting, or making entire submarines, as the Defense Ministry still seeks to buy foreign submarines as a "priority for Taiwan." The first stage of the indigenous submarine program would involve blueprints and figuring out how to build the machines, a military source said. Joseph Wu, secretary-general of Taiwan's main opposition Democratic Progressive Party who is also attending the conference, told media that there is an emerging consensus among Taiwan's ruling and opposition parties on the indigenous submarine program. If different factions in Taiwan can work together, the U.S. will be more willing to provide assistance in this regard, all the more important because Taiwan has a "slim chance" of acquiring submarines from a foreign country, he asserted. The annual defense conference is was set to run Oct. 5-7 to discuss U.S.-Taiwan defense and military cooperation and future defense and national security needs, said the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, the organizer of the event. (By Tony Liao and Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-07-26 07:44 GMT+08:00