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Taiwan to be briefed on Chinese defense minister's U.S. visit

2012/05/03 23:00:12

Taipei, May 3 (CNA) The United States will update Taiwan on Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie's visit to Washington, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.

Washington has always briefed Taipei on U.S.-China high-level exchanges, the ministry said, downplaying news of Liang's meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta next Monday.

According to China's Ministry of National Defense, Liang is scheduled to tour the U.S. between May 4-10 and meet with various state and military leaders.

Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he, a spokesman for Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense, said the military will "pay close attention to subsequent developments." But he declined to comment further.

Asked if Liang's visit is of any significance, Arthur Ding, a scholar at National Chengchi University, said he believed it is not.

Ding explained that China's defense ministry does not hold actual power. More attention should be directed to its Central Military Commission, in which decision-makers including Xi Jinping hold posts.

Alexander Huang, a military analyst at Tamkang University, said that Liang's visit should not be over-interpreted because it is a part of normal U.S.-China military exchanges.

(By Nancy Liu and Elaine Hou)