Well-placed sources in Washington have confirmed that William A. Stanton, deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in South Korea, is in line to become the next director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).
Other sources said that Stanton would be a controversial choice because he has a history of strong support for Beijing’s policies and had impeded internal reports critical of the Chinese regime.
One source said that Stanton’s name was at the top of a shortlist for the Taiwan posting but that no decision had been made.
Because of the delicate nature of the information, the sources talked on condition that their names not be used.
But one source provided the Taipei Times with a copy of a report that was submitted to the State Department in the mid-1990s that claimed Stanton was excessively pro-China.
It is not clear what, if any, action was taken by the State Department as a result of complaints against Stanton while he was posted in Beijing.
The source said that Stanton, while stationed in Beijing in the mid-1990s, had impeded a series of cables critical of the Chinese government from being sent to the State Department in Washington.
The source said: “The common thread in all [of the cables] is criticism of one sort or another of the Chinese government.”
The source said that in 1995, following the much-celebrated Women’s Conference in Beijing Washington asked for a report on the impact of the conference on Chinese attitudes.
Stanton would not allow the report to be sent because it included details of Chinese press reports that attacked the conference, the source said.
“A pattern soon emerged where drafts critical of the Chinese government or leadership were regularly blocked from transmission,” said the report that was viewed by the Taipei Times.
Also in the report is an allegation that Stanton prevented Washington from receiving information from a Third World diplomat about Chinese military plans “with regard to Taiwan prior to presidential elections there.”
The 1996 presidential elections were preceded by the firing of Chinese missiles that landed in waters near Kaohsiung and Keelung.
It was further alleged that Stanton would not allow Washington to be told of the way Chinese officials were forcibly repatriating North Korean refugees.
The report also said that during a Fourth of July celebration at Washington’s embassy in Beijing, Stanton “ordered the papier mache construction of the Statue of Liberty to be placed in the backyard of the Chancery, away from the street, so as not to offend the sensitivities of the Chinese leadership, since apparently it might serve as a reminder for them of the Goddess of Democracy statue torn down in Tiananmen Square.”
A former senior US official said it would have been impossible for Stanton to block cables. Throughout Stanton’s career as a diplomat, he had made friends and, of course, enemies too, added the former official, who declined to be identified.
Stanton’s last two assignments have been in South Korea and Australia. He has been in Seoul since August 2006 after serving as deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Australia for three years.
From 1995 to 1998 Stanton was minister counselor for political affairs at the US embassy in Beijing and deputy director of the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs from 1994 to 1995.
He was special assistant for East Asia and Pacific affairs for the undersecretary for political affairs from 1993 to 1994 and political officer in Beijing from 1987 to 1990, where he also served as chief of internal political reporting from 1989 to 1990.
During his 30-year career as a foreign service officer, Stanton has received three Superior Honor Awards, one Superior Group Award and several performance awards.
Stanton is 62 and should he be given the job in Taipei, where he would replace AIT Director Stephen Young, it would likely be his last assignment before retirement.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY NADIA TSAO
Taiwan might be China’s next target after it has “walled off” Hong Kong from the rest of the world with its new national security legislation, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said on Thursday. At a seminar organized by the Economic Democracy Union, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Judicial Reform Foundation, Wu said that the legislation is simultaneously a fig leaf concealing Beijing’s autocratic rule in Hong Kong and a figurative “Berlin Wall,” denying democratic countries access to Hong Kong. Wu said it is evident that Taiwan would be China’s next target. The
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
SAFETY CONCERNS: A construction company working nearby admitted to negligence in the incident, and is to pay a fine and other expenses related to damages Residents of homes adjacent to an alleyway in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District (永和) on Saturday were forced to evacuate their homes after the road collapsed, the New Taipei City government said yesterday. An 80m by 4m area in an alleyway on Wenhua Road (文化路) collapsed at 10:39am near an apartment building construction site where work was being done on the project’s foundation. The incident also ruptured an underground gas pipe and tilted several buildings in the area. Residents would not be able to return to their homes until tomorrow or Wednesday, when repairs are expected to be finished, the city government said. Workers
CHALLENGER DEEP: Lin Ying-Tsong was invited by Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo to join him on a 10-hour long trip in the company’s submersible Taiwanese-American Lin Ying-Tsong (林穎聰) last month became the first person from Asia and the 12th in human history to dive into the deepest part on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. Lin, 45, an expert in deep sea acoustics with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, joined US adventurer and Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo, 54, on June 22 in a descent to the central pool of the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the trench, which lies at a depth of more than 10,900m. The pair made the descent in a submersible named Limiting Factor, a US$37