Sun, Mar 19, 2006 - Page 3 News List

New AIT director praises Taiwan in arrival speech

`VIBRANT' DEMOCRACY Stephen Young, the new head of the US' de facto embassy here, lauded the nation's democratic change in the last decade

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The incoming American Institute in Taiwan director Stephen Young, second right, and his wife yesterday receive a warm welcome at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport from Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Kau and his wife.

PHOTO: CHU PEI-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) director Stephen Young arrived in Taipei yesterday to assume his post as head of the US' de facto embassy in Taiwan.

In a statement upon his arrival, Young spoke at length in praise of the democratic development of Taiwan over the last decade.

"I am sure to rediscover the dynamism and optimism of the Taiwanese people, which has made this one of the most vibrant places in the Asia-Pacific region," Young said.

"I look forward to reacquainting myself with the strong democratic values that have been emerging now for nearly twenty years, and which President Bush so warmly described in his Tokyo speech last November," he said.

The new AIT director also reaffirmed the US commitment to help Taiwan defend itself in the face of an increasingly self-confident China.

"This has posed new security challenges for Taiwan which the United States, under the Taiwan Relations Act, remains committed to closely cooperating on with you," Young said.

Young, a former US ambassador to Kyrgyzstan from 2003 to last year, was also deputy AIT director from 1998 to 2001.

It's the fifth time he has returned to Taiwan. Young first came to Taiwan at the age of 12 with his father, who served as a military adviser to the Taiwanese army in Kaohsiung from 1963-1965.

Young speaks fluent Mandarin and holds a doctorate in history from the University of Chicago.

He arrived yesterday with his wife and son.

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