Fri, Jul 20, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Ma lauds AIT head Stanton for plans to stay on in Taiwan

Staff writer, with CNA

American Institute in Taiwan Director William Stanton, left, drinks champagne with President Ma Ying-jeou on Tuesday after being awarded the Order of Brilliant Star at the Presidential Office.

Photo: CNA

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday praised American Institute in Taiwan Director William Stanton for his decision to stay in Taiwan after he retires and for fostering US-Taiwan ties during his tenure.

Bilateral relations between Taiwan and the US over the past three years have been at their closest and most stable since official diplomatic ties were severed in 1979, Ma wrote on his Facebook page.

For example, the US sent high-ranking government officials to visit Taiwan on a number of occasions in the past few years, Ma said, despite the absence of formal ties between the two sides.

Stanton has also been working hard to help Taiwan gain visa-waiver status in the US, Ma said, but what has touched him most was how “Stanton used his actions to show his love for Taiwan.”

Ma added that Stanton, 65, is one of the few US envoys to have traveled so extensively in Taiwan, and is the first US diplomat to choose to stay in the country after leaving the diplomatic corps.

Stanton, who is scheduled to retire later this month, will take a teaching position at Taipei American School. Stanton was awarded the Order of Brilliant Star by Ma on Tuesday for his contribution to bilateral relations. Ma also gave the diplomat, who dislikes driving, a customized EasyCard.

Stanton is the third foreign representative who has decided to stay in Taiwan after retiring, Ma said on his Facebook page, adding that Henrik Bystrom of Sweden and Menno Goedhart of the Netherlands have both chosen to reside in Taiwan and apply for permanent residency to become “true Taiwanese.”

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