TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) William Christensen had his first official visit with Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who took up his post last month, at the Executive Yuan Friday afternoon.
“All of us are part of the U.S.-Taiwan story; a story of friendship, of progress, of partnership and of peace,” remarked Christensen ahead of a bilateral meeting with Su. He also expressed confidence that the strong cooperation between the AIT and the Executive Yuan will continue under Su’s leadership.
Speaking about the prospect of the Taiwan-U.S. relationship, Premier Su stressed an interest in bringing the bilateral relations to a new level. “It is my hope that in addition to promoting civic exchange, the AIT will also encourage mutual high-level cabinet members’ visits to underscore the cordial ties between the two sides.”
Su also urged both governments to speed up their efforts in reaching a bilateral free trade agreement, while calling for further cooperation in national security in the face of emerging regional challenges. “Taiwan will continue to play a role as a peace maker and contributor in the Indo-Pacific, so as to reinforce the substantive ties between Taiwan and the U.S.”
As the year of 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the establishment of the U.S. representative office in Taiwan, the AIT is launching a year-long campaign, “AIT@40,” intended to celebrate the U.S.-Taiwan ties over the past four decades.
The institute aims to highlight U.S.-Taiwan cooperation across twelve themes, with a different one each month, ranging from trade and investment, shared values, to education, and other issues, said Christensen. “Our campaign will not only recognize past accomplishments, but will also look at ongoing and future efforts.”
The TRA was passed by the U.S. Congress the year after the United States, then led by former President Jimmy Carter, switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1978. The AIT was also founded in 1979 under the TRA provision to serve as a de-facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan.