Annapolis, Maryland, Oct. 29 (CNA) Taiwan's national defense will be built on a dual-development system that focuses on both indigenous system development and foreign arms sales, Vice Minister of Defense Chang Guan-chung (???) said Monday.
"We are standing at a time when Taiwan is marching towards self-reliant defense," Chang said in a speech addressing the opening ceremony of the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference 2018 in Maryland.
But he stressed that the strategy would not exclude the participation of foreign suppliers.
"Our focus in pushing self-reliant defense over the past two years is the development of main systems. That being said, we still seek the participation of both domestic and foreign companies in developing sub-systems and critical modules through market mechanisms," he said.
"Our demand for cooperation with international companies never declined. Instead, it has become more diverse and provides more opportunities."
Explaining the need for an indigenous weapons program, Chang said Taiwan has faced "painful lessons" in foreign military acquisitions because of diplomatic obstacles.
"We therefore understand one thing: that is, to forge strength for a sustainable and reliable self-reliant defense that meets our requirements is fundamental to our defense policy," he said.
Chang said Taiwan's military investment should avoid an arms race but take advantage of "the unique battlefield in the Taiwan Strait" to "create weapon systems we actually need with asymmetric thinking."
In addition, Taiwan will emphasize how to integrate its defense development with its technology and industrial strengths, and bolster the use of technology to maximize the cost-effectiveness of the military investments.
"To reach the goal, we will use a certain amount of our domestic acquisition budget in scientific research to elevate our technology level and human resources quality," Chang said.
"By making defense investment and national power mutually supportive, our self-reliant defense will be sustainable."
Chang said Taiwan looked forward to active participation by the U.S. industry in Taiwan's self-reliant defense development, and such participation will depend on policy support from the U.S. government.
"We welcome the U.S. industry to join us and together make contributions for peace and stability of Taiwan Strait," Chang said.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Chang was asked to comment on a prediction by Rupert Hammond-Chambers, head of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council on Sunday, that Washington will approve another round of arms sales to Taiwan by the end of the year, following a US$330 million deal in September.
Chang sidestepped the question, saying the conference focused on cooperation between the two sides' defense industries and did not touch on arms sales.
National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General York Chen (???) said the U.S. is Taiwan's first choice as a partner in its defense industry development, and such cooperation could enable Taiwan to enter the U.S.'s global supply chain.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel