James Lilley, American Institute in Taiwan director from 1981 to 1984, died in Washington on Thursday from complications related to prostate cancer. He was 81.
In his long career with the US government, Lilley also served as US ambassador to South Korea from 1986 to 1989, and to China from 1989 to 1991.
Prior to entering the diplomatic field, Lilley worked at the CIA for 27 years, which he joined in 1951. His postings at the agency included China, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Laos, Taiwan, Vietnam and Hong Kong.
When the US opened its liaison office in Beijing in 1971, Lilley became the first “declared” US intelligence official in China and the CIA’s first station chief in the capital.
Lilley, who later also came to be known as Li Jieming (李潔明), was born in Qingdao, Shandong, in 1928, where his father and role model, Frank Lilley, worked as a salesman for Standard Oil.
In 2004, Lilley published his memoir China Hands, which eloquently described his formative childhood in China, his years as a CIA operative and the power struggles between China, Taiwan and the US, including his first-hand experience of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
After his ambassadorship in Beijing, Lilley became a forceful — and public — proponent of greater US support for Taiwan, efforts that he continued after being appointed assistant secretary of defense for international affairs from 1991 to 1993. He often clashed with the US Department of State over arms sales to Taiwan, arguing that it would be unwise to grant Beijing the cutoff date that it sought.
Expressing her condolences to the family on Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called him “one of our nation’s finest diplomats.”
In its obituary, the Washington Post described Lilley as “one of the most pragmatic voices on the modern Sino-American relationship.”
In a statement on Friday, former US president George H.W. Bush, who was close to Lilley, described him as “a most knowledgeable and effective ambassador who served with great honor and distinction.”
In a statement, Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) said Lilley had made many contributions to and spoken for Taiwan’s interests.
“His death is Taiwan’s loss,” he said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA
MORE ARRIVALS ALLOWED: Taiwan yesterday increased its cap on arrivals to 60,000 from 50,000 ahead of a full border opening with a weekly cap of 150,000 on Oct. 13 Travelers arriving in Taiwan from Oct. 13 would no longer be required to quarantine on arrival and visitors of all nationalities would be allowed to enter, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced yesterday. However, the number of arrivals would be capped at 150,000 per week, he added. Travelers aged two or older would be given four rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits on arrival and be asked to monitor their health for seven days, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference. Under the new arrival protocol, travelers would have to take a test on the day of arrival or the day after, followed
SOVEREIGN NATION: The Chinese premier’s remarks about the CCP’s resolve to achieve unification sought to undermine the legitimacy of Taiwan, the MAC said Taiwan will never accept Beijing’s attempts to undermine its sovereignty, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday, after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at its National Day celebrations in Beijing vowed to achieve unification with Taiwan. The CCP’s statement was not conducive to peaceful cross-strait relations, the council said. The event, hosted by the Chinese State Council, featured Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強), the other five CCP Politburo Standing Committee members and Vice President Wang Qishan (王岐山), as well as 500 guests from China and abroad. Taiwanese based in China also attended the ceremony, Xinhua news agency
Washington is evaluating a transfer of weapons systems requested by Taiwan, according to a copy of a report by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) that is to be submitted to lawmakers tomorrow. Asked whether the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile would be among the weapons systems, the ministry refused to comment, but said that it would not rule out announcing the specifics later this year. The ministry’s domestically sourced high-priority military investments include submarines, next-generation light frigates, rescue ships, advanced trainer jets and infantry fighting vehicles, the report said. Planned deals include F-16A and F-16B jet performance upgrades, navigation and targeting
DEFENSE-READY: The armament of the ‘Yushan’ allows for amphibious combat operations, the head of a firm involved in the ship’s construction said The navy yesterday took delivery of the first locally developed and built naval ship of more than 10,000 tonnes in a ceremony in Kaohsiung presided over by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The ROCS Yushan, an amphibious transport dock, was the result of a government-initiated indigenous shipbuilding project seeking to establish autonomy over national defense, Tsai said. She thanked CSBC Corp, Taiwan (台船), the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology and the navy for their contributions. The military needs the best equipment to uphold peace and defend Taiwan as it faces military threats from China, Tsai said. The 153m long and 23m wide Yushan