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DEFENSE/Taiwan official urges U.S. to speed up arms delivery at annual meet

10/03/2023 12:02 PM
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Vice Defense Minister Hsu Yen-pu poses for a photo on Tuesday in Virginia, the US. CNA Oct. 3, 2023
Vice Defense Minister Hsu Yen-pu poses for a photo on Tuesday in Virginia, the US. CNA Oct. 3, 2023

Washington, Oct. 2 (CNA) Vice Defense Minister Hsu Yen-pu (徐衍璞) called on the United States on Monday at the annual US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference to help Taiwan beef up its military self-reliance and speed up deliveries of weapons ordered by the country.

The meeting was not open to the media, but according to Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND), Hsu called on the U.S. government to help Taiwan with "total life cycle systems management" (TLCSM) of weapons and support systems bought from Washington.

TLCSM is a U.S. military term referring to the implementation, management, and oversight of all activities associated with the acquisition, development, production, fielding, sustainment, and disposal of a U.S. Department of Defense weapon system across its life cycle.

At present, Taiwan has to rely heavily on the U.S. to maintain most of its U.S.-made weapon systems and armaments, but Hsu said having TLCSM capabilities would enable more Taiwanese defense companies and contractors to produce and offer maintenance services for U.S.-bought weapon systems.

That would speed up arms deliveries to Taiwan and help integrate the two countries' defense industries, which would ultimately beef up Taiwan's self-reliance and resilience in terms of defense, Hsu said.

Hsu's appeal suggested that Taiwan military is hoping to obtain more autonomy in its weapon development and management of weapons systems bought from the United States.

In his address, Hsu also thanked U.S. President Joe Biden for approving 11 rounds of arms sales to Taiwan since taking office and endorsing a US$345 million military aid package to Taiwan to be delivered under his Presidential Drawdown Authority.

These moves show that Washington is putting a priority on Taipei's defensive needs and self-defense capabilities, Hsu said in his address, according to the MND.

Given the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war, Taiwan and the U.S. have recognized the importance of speeding up the delivery of weapons systems to Taiwan to urgently beef up its defense capabilities, the vice minister said.

Hsu made the address during the event, being held for a 22nd year, that is taking place in Virginia Oct. 1-3 (Eastern Time).

Since its 2002 debut, the annual conference has aimed to facilitate engagement between the American defense industry and the U.S. and Taiwan governments on security matters, according to organizers.

According to Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the event's organizer, the US-Taiwan Business Council, this year's conference is the largest ever.

More than 200 participants from the Taiwanese and American governments and defense industry representatives are participating to discuss the future of bilateral defense cooperation.

Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) also traditionally send party representatives to the meeting.

This year, DPP International Affairs Department chief Vincent Chao (趙怡翔) and the KMT's representative to the U.S. Alexander Huang (黃介正) are taking part in the meeting.

Taiwan's third largest party, the Taiwan People's Party (TPP) founded by former Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) in 2019, also sent a delegation to the conference, headed by former ambassador and TPP Secretary-General Tom Chou (周台竹) and TPP lawmaker Wu Hsin-ying (吳欣盈).

Both Chao and Huang praised the TPP's decision to send representatives to the conference.

Chao said it demonstrated that people in Taiwan across party lines support enhancing Taiwan-U.S. relations, and Huang described it as a healthy sign for a democratic country.

Meanwhile, Chou said the TPP's appearance was meant to promote closer defense cooperation between Taipei and Washington and build closer connections between the party and the U.S.

The TPP delegation will meet with U.S. government representatives during its ongoing U.S. trip, Chou said, without naming the officials they will meet.

(By Chiang Ching-yeh and Joseph Yeh)


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