Thu, Jun 28, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Christensen appointed AIT director

SOLID RESUME:The Presidential Office said it hoped bilateral ties and cooperation between Taiwan and the US reach new heights under Brent Christensen’s leadership

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Brent Christensen, incoming American Institute in Taiwan director, is pictured in an undated photograph.

Photo: screen grab from the US Department of State Web site

The government yesterday welcomed Washington’s appointment of former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) deputy director Brent Christensen as the new AIT director, praising him as being instrumental in the US’ implementation of several Taiwan-friendly initiatives.

The AIT announced in a press release yesterday morning that Christensen, a veteran US diplomat with nearly 30 years of service, is to succeed outgoing AIT Director Kin Moy.

Moy, the first US diplomat of Chinese descent to head the AIT’s Taipei office, is expected to leave next month the post he has occupied since June 2015, but the AIT has yet to release a specific date for his departure.

Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said Christensen is a senior diplomat with a solid resume and is well-versed in US-Taiwan relations.

“During his tenure as director of the US Department of State’s Office of Taiwan Coordination from 2010 to 2012 and deputy director of the AIT from 2012 to 2015, Christensen had made every possible effort to further Taiwan-US ties. He was also involved in several initiatives vital to bilateral relations,” Lin said.

Following the completion of the AIT’s new compound in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖), which cost the US government US$255.6 million and serves as a significant milestone in Taiwan-US relations, Lin said he hoped to see bilateral ties and cooperation between Taiwan and US reach new heights under Christensen’s leadership.

Lin also expressed the government’s gratitude to Moy for his dedication to the development of Taiwan-US ties over the past three years.

Moy was earlier this month given the Grand Medal of Diplomacy, the highest honor Taiwan gives to an individual for diplomatic contributions.

“Recent progress in Taiwan-US relations serves as a testament to the concrete foundations that have been laid down by all of the AIT’s previous directors. We will continue to further bilateral partnership based on these foundations,” Lin said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also welcomed the appointment of Christensen, who it said has an in-depth understanding of major issues concerning Taiwan and the US, as well as the government’s policy stance.

Christensen has played a role in Washington’s implementation of several Taiwan-friendly initiatives, the ministry said, citing as examples Taiwan’s inclusion in the US’ Visa Waiver Program in 2012, the signing of a new version of the Agreement on Privileges, Exemptions and Immunities between the AIT and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US in 2013, and the establishment of the US-Taiwan Global Cooperation and Training Framework in 2015.

He has also facilitated visits by high-level US officials to Taiwan, including then-US environmental protection agency administrator Gina McCarthy in 2014 and then-US assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs Charles Rivkin in 2015, the ministry said.

“The ministry looks forward to Christensen’s inauguration and to working closely with him to further the Taiwan-US partnership based on the foundations laid down by Moy and his predecessors,” it said.

Asked when Christensen would take office, the AIT said the date would be announced in the near future.

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