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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 6, 2002

Taiwan's vice minister of defense to visit Pearl Harbor

By Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writer

Taiwan's vice minister of defense will visit Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial Sept. 13 during an "unofficial" visit with Adm. Thomas B. Fargo, commander in chief of U.S. military forces in the Pacific, a spokesman said yesterday.

Kang Ning-hsiang will stop in Hawai'i on Thursday for three days on his return from Washington, D.C., where he arrives tomorrow for several days of meetings at the Pentagon.

The visit is being closely watched by China hands as a sign of the Bush administration's interest in maintaining close defense ties with Taiwan despite objections from the People's Republic of China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province.

The stops in the Capital and in Hawai'i are "unofficial" because the United States does not formally recognize Taiwan as a separate country.

Fargo's spokesman, Navy Capt. John Singley, said yesterday that Kang apparently is stopping in Hawai'i as a convenient halfway point on his return to China.

Fargo will see him because "the Pacific Command has a responsibility under law to assess Taiwan's military capabilities and report to the secretary of defense every year," Singley said. "He will arrive here at CINCPAC headquarters to have a series of discussions with staff, and we are taking him to the Arizona Memorial, and to come aboard one of our ships in Pearl Harbor."

Reach Walter Wright at wwright@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8054.