Taipei-The Ministry of National Defense released a statement Sunday saying that the defense minister's trip overseas is purely diplomatic in nature and not, as dubbed by a local media outlet, a "farewell trip."
Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (???) set off Wednesday on a 17-day tour of Central America and the Caribbean to strengthen ties with Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the region.
However, a report by Apple Daily called the overseas mission Feng's "farewell trip" because in the past Taiwan's defense ministers had only undertaken such foreign visits shortly before retiring.
The statement said such speculation was totally unfounded and noted Feng had received invitations from the commanding general of the Nicaraguan Army, Julio Cesar Aviles Castillo and Guatemalan Defense Minister Williams Mansilla Fernandez.
The trip will take Feng to all of Taiwan's Spanish-speaking allies in Central America -- Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador -- as well as the Dominican Republic, the ministry said.
Feng will transit through Los Angeles on his way home before returning to Taiwan on Sept. 8.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel