Sat, Jul 10, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Nation's new chief representative to US sworn in

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

David Lee (李大維), the country's new top representative to the US, was officially sworn in by Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) yesterday.

Lee, previously Taiwan's representative to Belgium and the EU, will spend several days in Brussels before arriving at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington by July 25 to take over from his predecessor, Chen Chien-jen (程建人).

Mark Chen also confirmed that former foreign minister Eugene Chien (簡又新) will succeed Lee as the top representative to Belgium and the EU.

Lee met with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for around 40 minutes on Thursday to discuss the country's most important diplomatic position.

Lee also talked with Control Yuan President Fredrick Chien (錢復), who is leading a committee investigating the March 19 shooting of the president and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), about the progress of the investigation.

Lee, who graduated from National Taiwan University's political science department, obtained master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Virginia.

"Before I went to study in the US, I was thinking about what subjects I should study. Fredrick Chien, who was then my teacher, told me I should study something practical, such as the US government," Lee told reporters after he was sworn in.

Lee recalled that he had a rough time studying the US government at the University of Virginia. "It was really difficult. My classmates were all Americans and only I was from abroad. An American student coming to Taiwan to study the Taiwanese government might understand my difficulties," Lee said.

However, Lee said his efforts to study the US government paid off because now they can really help him in his new job.

"I felt I have been given a job where my expertise will be fully used ? Our relations with the US are absolutely crucial to Taiwan's national security and interests. I am given the opportunity to serve our 23 million people, and I will do my best," Lee said.

Finding ways that Taiwan and the US can cooperate in keeping peace in the Taiwan Strait is the first priority of his new job, he said. The second is strengthening trade ties between the two nations and the third is consolidating democracy, Lee said.

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