AIT director compares Taiwan-US relationship to family with shared values and goals

Director Brent Christensen spoke at National Taipei University for exhibition on Taiwan-US ties

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AIT Director Brent Christensen (left) and National Taipei University President Lee Chen-jai.

AIT Director Brent Christensen (left) and National Taipei University President Lee Chen-jai. (CNA photo)

NEW TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Addressing the students of National Taipei University in New Taipei City on Wednesday (March 11), Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Brent Christensen described the relationship between Taiwan and the U.S. as that of a family that upholds democracy.

Bound by shared values, similar economic principles, and a common commitment to making contributions to international society, Taiwan and the U.S. have collaborated on a wide array of areas, including, most recently, disarming disinformation, said Christensen. “Tackling disinformation is a challenge shared by all members of the family of democracies,” he said.

“Disinformation seeks to deepen existing divides within societies, interfere in elections, and in our case, undermine public confidence in the U.S.-Taiwan friendship,” said the director. “AIT has worked with our Taiwan partners to share information and expertise, to fund academic research to better understand this challenge, and to empower civil society to come up with innovative solutions,” he added.

The director also reiterated the U.S.’s effort to expand Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, which often exclude the island nation due to pressure from China. The AIT is working with the Taiwanese authorities on activities intended to “reaffirm the critical need to expand Taiwan's participation in the international community and its role in global problem solving.”

In addition to commending the Taiwanese government's capacity to tackle the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which has sickened nearly 120,000 people worldwide as of Wednesday, the director congratulated the island nation for its democratic system. “Taiwan has demonstrated to the world that democracy knows no race, religion, or ethnicity,” said Christensen, adding that the democratic transformation of Taiwan “is an inspiration to the world.”

The director’s speech was part of the opening event for a new exhibition that kicked off at the National Taipei University Library on Wednesday. The exhibition, which focuses on the Taiwan-U.S. relations since 1979, will last through March before embarking on a tour of six university campuses across the island.

The president of the university, Lee Chen-jai (李承嘉), remarked that the university was very pleased to host the exhibition. He added that it would offer a great opportunity for students to get a better understanding of the origin of the Taiwan Relations Act, which was passed in 1979 by the U.S. government after it switched diplomatic relations to China, and the ties between the two countries over the past four decades.