KMT seeking to deepen ties with U.S.: Party representative

10/12/2021 01:53 PM
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KMT Chairman Eric Chu. CNA photo Oct. 12, 2021
KMT Chairman Eric Chu. CNA photo Oct. 12, 2021

Washington, Oct. 11 (CNA) Taiwan's main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) is committed to engaging with many different groups in the United States to foster stronger ties between the two sides, a KMT representative said at a defense industry forum in Virginia on Monday.

Dennis Weng (翁履中), associate professor at Sam Houston State University, told participants at the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference that new KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) is ready to engage in dialogue with U.S. authorities.

Weng said the party would establish a liaison office in Washington, D.C., by the end of 2021 to "better communicate our policy agenda and positions with the U.S. federal government, the Congress, policy think tanks, and universities," according to a transcript of Weng's speech provided by the event organizer, US-Taiwan Business Council (USTBC).

The KMT has also established an International Affairs Working Group that will send delegations of party experts on U.S.-Taiwan relations to the U.S. on a regular basis after the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, the professor said.

With the competition between the U.S. and China intensifying and the Democratic Progressive Party government unable to ensure stable cross-Taiwan Strait relations, the KMT is committed to contributing to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, Weng said.

The party is considering "national security strategy guidelines" aimed at "preventing our adversary from making a decision to wage war against Taiwan" and stands ready to work with defense companies at home and abroad, Weng said.

"At the same time, we will also candidly speak up for the interests of Taiwan's defense based on our assessment," he said.

The 20th edition of the annual conference is being held in Virginia until Oct. 12. The event includes a series of discussions concerning defense cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan, and Taiwan's defense and national security needs, the USTBC said on the event website.

Meanwhile in Taipei, prior to attending a legislative meeting on Tuesday, Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) acknowledged that his ministry did not send delegates from Taiwan to attend the forum this year because of COVID-19 concerns.

He said the Ministry of National Defense (MND) was represented at the event by MND personnel posted in the U.S., without elaborating.

He was likely referring to Major General Yu Chien-feng (余劍鋒), director general of the Defense Mission at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, who delivered a speech at the conference on behalf of Vice Defense Minister Wang Hsin-lung (王信龍).

In the speech, Yu said Taiwan hoped to strengthen its defense capabilities by working with the U.S. in multiple areas, including by promoting mutual visits between its reserve forces and the U.S. National Guard, conducting joint cyber security exercises, and sharing intelligence.

Another key, he said, will be for American weapons providers to work with their Taiwanese partners to enhance Taiwan's repair and maintenance capabilities.

Such an arrangement would enable Taiwan to maintain its weapons systems more effectively while offering benefits to U.S. military assets deployed in the Asia-Pacific region, Yu said.

The conference last year took place as a virtual event due to COVID-19, and the Taiwanese delegation was led by Chang Guan-chung (張冠群), then a deputy defense minister.

(By Stacy Hsu, Lin Yu-hsuan and Teng Pei-ju)

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