New name of Taiwan Council for US Affairs a milestone for Taiwan-US relationship: Tsai

The renaming ceremony was attended by President Tsai, AIT Director Christensen, and other senior Taiwan officials

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(L-R) President Tsai Ing-wen and AIT Director Brent Christensen (Source: CNA)

(L-R) President Tsai Ing-wen and AIT Director Brent Christensen (Source: CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Perceived as yet another leap forward for Taiwan-U.S. ties, the Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs (TCUSA), renamed from an agency established under Taiwan’s foreign ministry to serve as a counterpart to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), was unveiled by top Taiwanese and U.S. officials in Taipei on Thursday (June 6).

The replacement of the name of the Coordination Council for North American Affairs (CCNAA) by TCUSA, which adopts “Taiwan” and “the U.S.”, “marked a milestone” for the Taiwan-U.S. relations, said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

Tsai said the partnership between Taiwan and the United States has become closer compared to 40 years ago, the time when the two nations terminated diplomatic relations, and that both countries have developed mutual trust and understanding over the years.

I will “ensure that the Taiwan-U.S. relationship advances steadily” and “promote a freer and more open Indo-Pacific region,” added Tsai.

After the severance of official relations between Taiwan and the United States in 1979, the U.S. established AIT in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). Taiwan, as a result, created CCNAA to serve as AIT’s counterpart agency.

Nevertheless, while AIT’s Taipei Main Office functions as the de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan, the de facto Taiwan embassy in the U.S. is the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States, headed by Taiwan’s representative to the U.S. Stanley Kao (高碩泰).

“We now look forward to continuing [U.S.-Taiwan] cooperation under the new TCUSA name, which better reflects the work done each and every day by this organization to deepen and strengthen our friendship, said AIT Director Brent Christensen, who delivered his remarks in the Chinese language.

The name change was announced on May 25 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), shortly after Taiwan’s Secretary-General to the National Security Council, David Lee (李大維), made a trip to the United States and met with John Bolton, the U.S. national security advisor.

Lee’s meeting with Bolton in Washington was the first time the top national security officials of the two countries had met in four decades. Prior to the renaming ceremony, Lee declined to answer any question concerning his meeting with Bolton.