Thu, Dec 08, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Highest US official to visit Taiwan in a decade announced

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

US Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman will arrive on a three-day visit to Taipei on Monday, the highest-ranking US government official to visit Taiwan since 2000, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said yesterday.

Poneman outranks US Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah, who was in Taipei for two days last week, the AIT said.

During his visit, Poneman will meet President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), senior government officials and US and Taiwan business leaders. He will also deliver a speech on how the US and Taiwan can work together to tackle tomorrow’s energy challenges, the AIT said.

Poneman will promote greater cooperation between the public and private sectors in Taiwan and the US in a number of fields, including scientific research, nuclear energy and renewable energy technologies, the AIT said.

Shah visited Taiwan after attending the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea, while Poneman’s visit was also part of an Asia trip.

The last visit to Taiwan made by a secretary-level official in a US administration was in 2000 when then-US secretary of transportation Rodney Slater attended a Taiwan-US business conference.

In response to the announcement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of North American Affairs Director-General Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達) said Taiwan welcomed all visits by senior US officials.

“Following the visit by Shah, the upcoming visit by Poneman will be another demonstration of the US’ commitment to send senior officials to enhance bilateral cooperative relationships, which has an important bearing on high-level exchanges between Taiwan and the US,” Linghu said.

AIT spokesperson Christopher Kavanagh said the US encouraged high-level visits and hoped Poneman’s visit would be as productive as that of Shah, who discussed a number of ways to enhance cooperation in foreign assistance with government officials and leaders from the private sector.

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