Taiwan President expresses sadness at death of U.S. scholar Romberg

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The late Alan Romberg. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (CNA) - President Tsai Ing-wen said Thursday she was saddened to learn that famous American scholar Alan Romberg had died and she said he will be missed.

Romberg, an expert on cross-Taiwan Strait relations who constantly said Taiwan was important to regional peace, passed away Tuesday (local time) in the U.S. at the age of 79.

"Saddened to hear about Alan Romberg's passing," Tsai tweeted. "His life was dedicated to fostering peace & prosperity in East Asia. He will be missed."

Kin W. Moy, director of the American Institute in Taiwan's (AIT) Taipei office, also expressed sorrow at Romberg's passing, saying the scholar was a dear friend and an extraordinary diplomat whose career focus was East Asia, beginning in the 1960s.

"Since the early days of my career, Alan had been a mentor of mine," Moy wrote in a Facebook post. "He was one of the first people I reached out to when I learned I was coming out to be Director of AIT because I always knew I could depend on him for keen intellect, sound advice, and good humor."

Romberg's professional career included service as Principal Deputy Director of the U.S. State Department's Policy Planning staff, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Deputy Spokesman of the department, and a member of the U.S. National Security Council, according to Moy.

In recent years, Romberg was co-director of the East Asia program at the Stimson Center with a special focus on Taiwan's foreign relations, Moy said.
"I was so pleased when he came to Taipei in May 2016 as part of the U.S. delegation to President Tsai's inauguration," Moy said.

With that visit, Romberg in a way had come full circle, since he had served as a U.S. naval officer for two years in Kaohsiung and studied Mandarin in Taichung, according to Moy.

"A more decent man, you will never meet," Moy wrote. "Farewell, Alan. Taiwan will miss you and so will I." (By Elain Hou and Flor Wang)