Former American Institute in Taiwan Director Darryl Johnson passes away

Johnson served in Taipei from 1996 to 1999

Former AIT Director Darryl Johnson.

Former AIT Director Darryl Johnson. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Darryl Johnson, the United States diplomat who served as director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) from 1996 to 1999, passed away last month, AIT announced Wednesday.

He arrived in Taiwan just months after its first direct presidential elections amid missile threats from China, and while in office witnessed the Asian regional financial crisis and the run-up to the 2000 presidential elections which saw the island’s first-ever democratic handover of power.

Johnson died in Seattle, Washington, on June 24, at the age of 80, but AIT provided no further details.

His foreign experience started with the Peace Corps in Thailand, where he would serve as U.S. ambassador after leaving AIT.

Johnson’s extensive foreign service career took him to several Asian and Central European countries, including Lithuania, where he served as the first U.S. ambassador after the country regained its independence. He also spent a stint as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs.

“He had the opportunity to work on U.S.-China relations right after Nixon opened China, to work on Cold War diplomacy during the last decade of Soviet power, and to witness both the Tiananmen Square protests and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989,” AIT wrote.