No ranking US officials to speak at defense meet
CNAANNAPOLIS, Maryland--No ranking United States foreign affairs or defense officials will speak at this year's U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference in the U.S. state of Maryland, organizers said Sunday.
October 1, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
This year's absence marks the second consecutive conference in which no ranking Department of Defense or Department of State officials will give keynote speeches. Both departments have sent other representatives on their behalf, said Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, at a press conference before the meeting's welcome reception later in the day.
Keynote speakers include “senior representatives” from the U.S. government and Taiwan's defense ministry, as well as the Democratic Progressive Party's representative to the United States, Joseph Wu, according to the event's website.
The conference, first held in 2002, is considered an important platform for dialogue on Taiwan's national security needs, weapons procurement and defense cooperation with the U.S.
Ranking U.S. defense and state department officials have spoken at the conference up until recently, including 2010 which saw Wallace Chip Gregson, then defense assistant secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs, and Beth M. McCormick, deputy assistant secretary at the State Department.
In 2011, the State Department did not send any representatives to the conference, and in 2012, no ranking officials made speeches.
Taiwan's delegation to this year's event is headed by Vice Defense Minister Yen Teh-fa, who is also scheduled to visit several U.S. agencies in Washington, D.C.
The annual conference, which runs from Sept. 29-Oct. 1, is being hosted by the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, a non-profit dedicated to developing bilateral trade and business ties. Around 110 representatives from both countries are expected to attend.