Wed, Mar 13, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Details of former US official's trip to Taiwan uncertain

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Torkel Patterson, a former Asia hand at the US National Security Council (NSC), paid a low-key visit to Taiwan late last month at the invitation of the Taiwan Thinktank, sources told the Taipei Times yesterday.

"Patterson just paid a rather low-key visit here," a high-ranking official disclosed to the Taipei Times.

Another government insider confirmed that Patterson visited Taipei. "The only public occasion [during his visit] was a talk on the afternoon of Feb. 28, in which about 20 to 30 officials and scholars took part," the source revealed.

The talk was arranged by the Asia-Pacific forum, a sub-branch of the newly founded Taiwan Thinktank, which has close ties with the administration of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), sources said.

Staffers at the think tank confirmed Patterson's visit, but they declined to disclose further details of the former US official's trip.

Patterson, who resigned from his NSC post in late January "for personal reasons," visited Taipei with his wife. It was his first trip to Taiwan since leaving the administration of US President George W. Bush.

During his six-day trip to Taiwan, Patterson and his wife also visited Hualien for what one official described as a "relaxing" engagement.

No further details were provided, but the Taiwan Thinktank is likely to provide details about Patterson's Feb. 28 talk in its upcoming newsletter, sources said.

Called both quick-witted and friendly toward Taiwan, the former NSC official is known for his penetrating views on cross-strait relations.

Prior to joining the NSC, Patterson worked for US defense contractor Raytheon between 1998 and 2000, during which he visited Taipei more than 40 times, Patterson told the Taipei Times in an interview in Dec. 2000.

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