The government yesterday welcomed the appointment of Christopher Marut as the successor to American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) Director William Stanton, who will complete his term of service in August.
At a time when US President Barack Obama is intensifying US ties with Asia-Pacific countries, the announcement “holds special significance” for US-Taiwan relations because Marut has in-depth understanding of not only the US’ Asia Pacific policy, but also cross-strait relations,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
The appointment is a reflection of US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s characterization of Taiwan as an “important security and economic partner,” the ministry said.
The government wishes to further enhance the substantial partnership between Taiwan and the US based on the current solid foundation, it said.
News of the appointment leaked out last month, but the US State Department only confirmed it on Monday.
“Over the 27 years of his career in the Foreign Service, Marut has developed a deep understanding of Asian affairs, including US--Taiwan relations,” the AIT said in its announcement.
Marut, one of the key advisers on US policy in the Asia--Pacific region, is the director of the Office of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Affairs under the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP).
Prior to that, Marut served as deputy consul general at the US consulate-general in Hong Kong — one of two US consulate--generals worldwide that function as independent missions similar to embassies — and as director of the EAP Office of Regional and Security Policy in Washington, the AIT said.
In previous posts, Marut was the deputy director for economics in the State Department’s EAP Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs, an economic counselor at the US embassy in Malaysia, an economic officer at the US consulate-general in Hong Kong and a science and technology officer at the US embassy in Beijing, the AIT said.
Before joining the US’ -diplomatic service, Marut was the managing director for China operations for a large US-based multinational medical equipment manufacturer and supplier, the AIT said.
Marut and his wife, Loretta, reside in Washington. They have two grown children, Carolyn and Kenneth, both of whom were born in Taiwan, the AIT said.
Marut was born in Connecticut and was educated at the University of Notre Dame, where he received his bachelor’s degree in finance and business economics, and at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received an MBA.
He also studied at the College of Naval Warfare in Newport, Rhode Island, where he received a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies, the AIT said.
Additional reporting by William Lowther in Washington