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Defense Minister pays visit to Singapore Airshow expo

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Defense Minister Yen Ming (嚴明) is currently visiting Singapore to attend the city-state's ongoing air show and to engage in high-ranking bilateral military exchanges, a local newspaper said yesterday.

The Chinese-language United Evening News quoted unidentified sources as saying that Yen departed from Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport for Singapore on Monday as part of a low-profile visit to the city-state.

The purpose given for Yen's ongoing visit was to attend the biannual Singapore Airshow, the largest of its kind in Asia and one of the most important aerospace and defense exhibitions in the world.

He is also scheduled to meet with high-ranking Singaporean military officials during his stay in order to boost military cooperation between the two sides, the report said.

Asked to confirm, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday said it has no comment on the report.

The report said Yen was in Singapore at the invitation of Singapore's military.

Yen's visit to the country has proven that bilateral military exchanges were not affected after a previous visit to Singapore made by ex-Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) in 2012, it added.

Kao visited the same show two years ago. However, local media reports later said that Singapore was unhappy that Kao's visit had been made public by the Taiwanese media.

A Singaporean colonel stationed in Taiwan even visited the MND headquarters in Taipei to read a protest letter to Kao over the incident. The MND later denied the report.

The Singapore Airshow features 900 exhibiting companies from 50 countries. 274 official delegations from 70 countries and 44,801 professional visitors from all over the world are scheduled to attend the show, according to the air show's official website.

The show kicked off yesterday and will feature some of the latest state-of-the-art systems and equipment manufactured by top aerospace companies around the world.

In 2012, the third edition of the biennial show was its biggest ever, setting new records for value of deals announced at over US$31 billion, a threefold increase from the previous event in 2010, according to its website.

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