Ex-U.S. defense secretary visits Taiwan to speak at security forum

Taipei, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is currently visiting Taiwan to speak at a security forum and meet with local officials to exchange views on Taiwan-U.S. relations and regional security issues, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced Monday.

At the invitation of Taiwan's government, Carter, who served as U.S. defense chief from February 2015 to January 2017 under President Barack Obama, will speak at the Ketagalan Forum: 2018 Asia Pacific Security Dialogue to be held Tuesday, a MOFA statement said.

Carter arrived in Taiwan on Monday and is scheduled to leave later Tuesday.

According to MOFA, during Carter's tenure, the Obama administration announced a US$1.83 billion arms sale package for Taiwan.

The package included two frigates, anti-tank missiles, amphibious assault vehicles and other equipment.

MOFA welcomes the visit of Carter, saying that it shows strong U.S. support for Taiwan and close bilateral relations.

The Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue, organized by the Taipei-based Prospect Foundation, brings together scholars and experts from home and abroad to discuss the latest developments on the Korean Peninsula and the Indo-Pacific Strategic environment; China's sharp power and its challenges to the democratic world; and how Taiwan can integrate its New Southbound Policy and the Indo-Pacific Strategy, according to MOFA.

European Parliament member David Martin who is as a member of the European Parliament delegation for relations with countries in Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is among the invitees to attend the forum.

The one-day forum also features 20-plus lawmakers from the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India, Vietnam and Malaysia, as well as local and international scholars, it added.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel