US diplomat for Asia who studied Mandarin in Taiwan to retire

First woman to serve as top US diplomat for Asia, Susan Thornton, announces retirement

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Susan Thornton and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu in March 2018. (Image from EAP Bureau Twitter)

Susan Thornton and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu in March 2018. (Image from EAP Bureau Twitter)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The United States State Department spokesperson, Heather Nauert, announced July 1 that the most senior U.S. diplomat for Asia, Susan Thornton, will retire from the Foreign Service this July.

Thornton, 54, is the acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and has served the U.S. State Deptartment for over 20 years. She was appointed to this top post by the previous Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, despite oppositions from ex-White House strategist, Steve Bannon, who said that she "was not hawkish enough on China."


(Wikimedia Commons image)

Thornton was officially assigned this senior position in Dec. 2017 after filling the post in an acting capacity for 11 months previously.

The career diplomat studied Mandarin as well as gave birth to her daughter in Taiwan.

"We are grateful for her service of over two and a half decades to the Department of State, including numerous challenging assignments around the world," said spokesperson Nauert.


(Image from EAP Twitter)