Taiwan-US defense forum in Kaohsiung only to talk business

The president of the US-Taiwan Business Council will lead a US delegation to attend the non-official forum in May

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Rupert J. Hammond-Chambers, president of the US-Taiwan Business Council

Rupert J. Hammond-Chambers, president of the US-Taiwan Business Council (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan-U.S. Defense Business Forum will be held on May 10 for the first time in Taiwan, but according to a source closely following the matter, there will not be any U.S. government officials attending the event.

Despite speculation that high-level U.S. officials might visit Taiwan for the forum in Kaohsiung after the enactment of the Taiwan Travel Act (H.R.535), the Liberty Times quoted a source as saying that the event was intended for informal exchanges involving representatives from the private sectors of both Taiwan and the U.S.

The U.S. delegation would be led by Rupert J. Hammond-Chambers, president of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, added the source.

The source also said if Taiwanese companies wished to become a supplier in the U.S. arms business, the forum in May would be a good opportunity for those companies to spot new business niches in the U.S. arms industry.

As for another defense business forum scheduled later this year in the U.S., there will be a delegation led by high-level officials from Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense and other governmental institutes. The delegation will aim to have more interactions with U.S. counterparts and hold talks on arms sales to Taiwan, according to the source.

The Taiwan-U.S. Defense Business Forum was initiated in 2002 and was held once a year in the U.S. until 2017. From 2018, the forum will be held twice a year in Taiwan and the U.S. respectively.

The Liberty Times reported that over the years, officials from the U.S. Department of State, Department of Defense, and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, among other official agencies, had joined the forums in the U.S.

According to the agenda for the forum in May, there will be a keynote speech on U.S.-Taiwan cooperation in defense businesses, and talks about Taiwan's shipbuilding, cybersecurity, and aerospace industries.