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U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference opens in Virginia

2015/10/05 16:01:26

Rupert Hammond-Chambers

Williamsburg, Virginia, Oct. 4 (CNA) The U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference 2015 opened in Williamsburg, Virginia on Sunday, with Taiwan's interest in acquiring submarines among the topics to be covered.

Cyber security will be another major topic on the agenda of the conference, Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, the event's organizer, told a news conference.

He said the conference will thoroughly discuss cyber security-related subjects, given the great importance attached by the United States to the issue.

If Taiwan's information and communication technology industry can provide the United States with the technology and capabilities needed, it will create opportunities for cooperation between the two sides, he added.

On the submarine issue, Hammond-Chambers said he did not expect any breakthroughs on the matter because both Taiwan and the United States will soon elect a new president, and the positions of the new administrations on both sides remain unclear.

Officials from Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense had previously said the country's indigenous submarine program and potential submarine purchases from the U.S. would be discussed at the conference.

The officials said Taiwan will ask the U.S. side to help Taiwan acquire submarines or submarine-building technology.

Also during Sunday's news conference, Hammond-Chambers said it was very likely that U.S. President Barack Obama will notify Congress between Dec. 11 and Jan. 16 of plans for a new arms sales package to Taiwan.

He said it would be the last package in Obama's term and that it would not be worth more than US$2 billion.

Hammond-Chambers' remarks echoed those made Sept. 30 by Mark Stokes, a former Pentagon official who is now executive director of the Washington-based think tank Project 2049 Institute.

Speaking during a discussion organized by the Hudson Institute, Stokes predicted that it could be possible that Obama will notify Congress of plans for a new arms sales package to Taiwan between now and the end of this year.

(By Rita Cheng and Y.F. Low)
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