The new director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), William Stanton, reported for duty yesterday and promised to “listen carefully” to the Taiwanese people to improve Taiwan-US ties based on mutual interests.
Speaking briefly at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport upon his arrival, Stanton said he was honored and delighted to return to Taiwan after living here more than two decades ago.
“Although I last lived in Taiwan 22 years ago, I have many fond memories, including the birth of my older daughter Kate who was therefore — as I said in Washington recently — made in Taiwan,” said Stanton, referring to his experience of studying Chinese in Taipei between 1986 and 1987.
“With virtually no natural resources other than the intelligence and hard work of its people, [Taiwan] is now the 26th largest economy in the world,” Stanton said, calling Taiwan an “economic miracle.”
Stanton, who assumed the post vacated by Stephen Young, also applauded Taiwan’s democratization, recalling that the country was still under martial law when he lived here.
“Now Taiwan is a vibrant democracy built on the foundation of a civil society of the people and non-government organizations. This is an impressive achievement that the people of Taiwan can be proud of,” he said.
Some of the pertinent issues that he expected to tackle during his three years in office include convincing Taiwan to allow a comprehensive opening to US beef, Taiwan’s petition to be included in the US visa-waiver program and US arms sales to Taiwan.
Stanton’s most recent assignment was as deputy chief of the US embassy in South Korea. He also served as Charge d’Affaires ad interim and as deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Canberra, Australia.
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