TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The 21st U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference kicked off on Sunday (Oct. 2) at the Omni Richmond Hotel in Richmond, Virginia to discuss the future of American defense cooperation with Taiwan, the arms procurement process, and Taiwan’s defense and national security needs.
The Taiwan delegation was led by Deputy Defense Minister Wang Hsin-lung (王信龍), while the U.S. side was represented by Laura Cressey, deputy director for the U.S. State Department’s regional security and arms transfers, and Jedidiah Royal, deputy director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. Cressey and Royal also delivered opening remarks on the first day of the meeting.
The state department has sent many officials from the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs to previous U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conferences in the past but they had not delivered any speeches in nearly 10 years, Rupert Hammond-Chambers, the head of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, which organizes the annual conference, said. He pointed out that Cressey’s office is responsible for handling U.S.-Taiwan arms sales, per CNA.
Cressey and Royal’s attendance shows that the U.S. is attaching greater importance to Taiwan's security assistance. It is not only sending officials to listen to Taiwan’s challenges but also to convey matters that the White House thinks are important, Hammond-Chambers said.
The U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference, which will last until Oct. 4, consists of five sessions. The first session examines the threat to Taiwan in light of the Russia-Ukraine war and covers potential lessons that China, Taiwan, and the U.S. could learn.
The second session will talk about the growth and evolution of Taiwan’s strategic thinking, in order to improve the U.S. defense industry’s understanding of Taiwan’s defense planning in the short, medium, and long term. The third session will be about “non-traditional engagement efforts” between the U.S. and Taiwan, including training, logistics, sustainment, and industrial cooperation, with a particular focus on industry cooperation and how it can advance both Taiwan and U.S. national security goals.
The fourth session will discuss deterrence and resilience, as well as measures that could help improve Taiwan’s defense capabilities. The fifth session will focus on regional deterrence and resilience with regard to a potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait by analyzing the role that other U.S. allies such as Japan and Australia could play.