TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The second U.S. Defense Industry Conference for 2018 has been scheduled for Oct. 28-30 in Annapolis, Maryland, and Taiwanese Minister of National Defense Yen Teh-fa (嚴德發) has received an official invitation from the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council to attend the event.
Yan has reportedly expressed his willingness to attend the U.S. based event, which will be the first time a sitting Minister of National Defense has visited the United States in an official capacity in over a decade.
LTN reports that according to a recent budget statement from the Ministry, five military officials from Taiwan will be dispatched to the United States for a nine day visit during the period, which will include the dates of the Defense Industry Conference.
They are expected to meet with U.S. officials in the Department of Defense and the State Department during their trip to discuss matters of mutual interest related to the defense industry and arms purchases.
Previously, the Vice Minister of National Defense, Gen. Chang Guan-chung (張冠群) was expected to lead the MND delegation to the U.S. however after the invitation to Yen Teh-fa, it is likely Yan will be designated as the leader of the delegation.
The president of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council Rupert Hammond was quoted by Liberty Times as saying that the Council typically invites representatives from Taiwan’s MND to every Defense Conference.
In the past, Vice Ministers have participated, and have given keynote speeches, at Defense Conferences hosted in the U.S. on two occasions, in 2002 and 2008. Since then the Ministry has declined to send a high ranking official to the events.
However, in 2018 following the passage of the “Taiwan Travel Act” by the US Congress and President Trump, and as ties between the two countries continue to improve, people in both the U.S. and in Taiwan are optimistic for increased government exchanges and cooperation.
Minister Yen Teh-fa is reportedly looking forward to the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Conference and the opportunity to meet with U.S. officials and defense industry representatives.