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US declines to confirm appointment of first-ever woman envoy to Taiwan

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Sandra Oudkirk last visited Taiwan in 2019

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Senior U.S. diplomat Sandra Oudkirk (left) meeting President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei in 2019 (Presidential Office photo) 

Senior U.S. diplomat Sandra Oudkirk (left) meeting President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei in 2019 (Presidential Office photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Officials from both Taiwan and the United States declined to confirm media reports Friday (April 2) that Washington would appoint Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Sandra Oudkirk as its first-ever woman envoy to Taipei this summer.

The current director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Brent Christensen, took up his post in August 2018, with his tour of duty ending in 2021.

Oudkirk is no stranger to Taiwan, as she served before at AIT’s offices in Taipei, CNA reported. In October 2019, she attended the inaugural Pacific Islands Dialogue and the Yushan Forum in Taipei. Here she voiced Washington’s support for diplomatic ties between Taiwan and independent states in the Pacific.

Her other diplomatic postings included a stint as economic counselor in Beijing, while her current official title is Senior Official for APEC and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands at the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. She speaks Mandarin and Turkish.

However, AIT said Friday that it did not have any personnel changes to announce. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said it did not have any comment on the media reports either, but would be happy to work with any U.S. envoy to deepen the bilateral relationship.


Updated : 2021-05-19 01:34 GMT+08:00