Taiwan Defense Minister Yen Ming arrived in Singapore Monday, a military source said. (Sam Yeh / AFP)
TAIPEI — Taiwan’s defense minister is visiting Singapore to shore up military relations which were reportedly damaged after his predecessor’s visit in 2012 was publicly disclosed, a military source and local media said Tuesday.
Yen Ming arrived in the city-state Monday at the invitation of Singapore’s authorities, a military source said.
Aside from visiting the ongoing airshow, Yen will call on military authorities as part of efforts to “promote military cooperation,” the United Evening News reported.
Taiwan’s defense ministry declined comment, unlike in 2012 when it confirmed a rare visit to Singapore by the then-Defence Minister Kao Hua-chu.
Local media reported at the time that Singapore authorities had protested to Taiwan’s defense ministry, claiming publicity surrounding the visit violated the tacit understanding it would be kept secret.
Taiwan does not have formal diplomatic ties with Singapore but has provided training venues for its artillery, armored vehicles and infantry units.
Singapore, like most countries, officially recognizes China and is said to be keen on keeping its military exchanges with Taiwan as low-profile as possible.
In the past, visits by top Singaporean officials to Taiwan triggered strong protests from China.
China still claims Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting unification, by force if necessary, even though ties have improved markedly since Taiwan’s current Beijing-friendly government came to power in 2008.
In the Chinese city of Nanjing, the two sides Tuesday held their first government-to-government talks since they split 65 years ago after a civil war.