A strong US-Taiwan relationship need not compete with the recently warming links between Taiwan and China, but can rather complement the process by providing Taiwan with the confidence to explore better relations with Beijing, outgoing American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Stephen Young said yesterday at a US national day reception in Taipei.
Young quoted former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), saying: “It doesn’t matter where you come from, so long as you love Taiwan, you are a new Taiwanese.”
Young said by definition he considers himself a “New Taiwanese Man” and he lauded the “civility” and “kindness” of Taiwanese that he has experienced during his years in Taiwan.
“I think of Taiwan’s further maturation as a democracy is best exemplified by the free and fair election held last year. The verdict of which was calmly accepted by all the major political parties,” he said, adding US-Taiwan ties in all realms will deepen in the future.
His replacement William Stanton is an experienced diplomat and “accomplished China hand,” Young said, adding that he was confident that he was leaving Taipei and the AIT in “very capable hands.”
Young spent part of his childhood in Taiwan and later returned to study Chinese as part of the US Foreign Service program.
As a diplomat, he has been stationed in Taiwan three times. An avid climber and cyclist, Young has traveled extensively around the country and said the beauty of the island was one of the things his family would miss about Taiwan.
In his address to the reception, Premier Liu Chao-hsiuan (劉兆玄) accidentally made the US 2,000 years older by congratulating Washington on its “2,333rd” birthday.
Young was scheduled to leave Taiwan today. Stanton, now the deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Seoul, is scheduled to arrive next month.
Young will leave his post after failing to convince Taiwan to lift the ban on US bone-in beef from cattle older than 30 months of age, which he has worked hard for during his three-year tenure as AIT director. One of his legacies will be the mountainside plot in Neihu, which will be AIT’s future home.