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Administration vacancies said hampering U.S.-Taiwan cooperation

2017/10/16 15:00:23

Rupert Hammond-Chambers

Princeton, New Jersey, Oct. 15 (CNA) U.S. President Donald Trump's failure to fill many top jobs in his administration has hampered defense security cooperation between the United States and Taiwan, U.S.-Taiwan Business Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers told a news conference Sunday.

Speaking in a press briefing on the 2017 U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference being held here Oct. 15-17, Hammond-Chambers said that although he feels "frustrated" by that, he is still optimistic about the ongoing cooperation between the two countries in this aspect.

Helping Taiwan to build an indigenous defense submarine is a set U.S. policy, but the State Department has yet -- since September last year -- to extend authorization to U.S. companies seeking to offer continued technical support for Taiwan's Netherland's-built Zwaardvis-class submarines.

The State Department has not said "no," but the case is that no one is there to make a decision, he said, and the job vacancies have affected the implementation of defense security plans between the U.S. and Taiwan.

The U.S.-Taiwan business council president also said he agrees with the view form certain quarters that Taiwan's insufficient defense budget has had a negative effect on Taiwan's ability to upgrade its air combat capabilities and deter threats.

Advanced fifth-generation fighters will enable Taiwan to acquire unique and strong defense combative capabilities, he contended, and if the U.S. cannot supply Taiwan with its F-35 jetfighters, it should come up with a feasible alternative plan.

Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Chang Guan-chung (張冠群), who heads a Taiwanese delegation of representatives from the local information security, shipbuilding and aviation industries, will deliver a keynote address at the conference Oct. 16.

David F. Helvey, U.S. acting assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, will also give a keynote speech later in the day.

The annual conference, viewed as an important platform for dialogue on Taiwan's national security needs, weapons procurement and defense cooperation with the U.S., has been hosted by the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council since 2002.

(By Rita Cheng and Flor Wang)