American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen, whose three-year term ends this summer, was yesterday recognized by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for his contributions to Taiwan-US relations.
In accepting the Order of the Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon, Christensen said he was pleased to see growth in bilateral ties as the two sides weathered the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year and a half.
“The achievements we have reached together during that time are a true testament of the determination and creativity that we share in our efforts to advance the relationship,” Christensen said during a ceremony at the Presidential Office in Taipei.
Photo courtesy of the Presidential Office via CNA
The recent outbreak in Taiwan has brought the two nations even closer, he said.
“The events of recent weeks will be among my most cherished memories during my tenure as AIT director,” he said.
They include three US senators arriving on June 6 aboard a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III freighter to announce the donation of 750,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine to Taiwan, and the delivery on Sunday of 2.5 million vaccine doses — more than three times the amount promised — he said.
Progress has also been made between Taiwan and the US in areas such as security cooperation, economic relations and people-to-people ties, Christensen said.
The US, based on its commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to support Taiwan’s self-defense efforts, has also approved nearly US$17 billion of arms sales to the nation, he said.
He was also pleased that talks under the Taiwan-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement would resume in the near future, he added.
“I may be leaving Taiwan, but Taiwan will never leave me,” Christensen said.
Tsai lauded his contributions to bilateral relations, saying that the achievements represented real progress and real friendship between the countries.
On Thursday, Christensen and AIT Deputy Director Raymond Greene also received awards from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their diplomatic achievements.
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