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AIT director wraps up 3-year tenure on high note

US-Taiwan relations reached unprecedented level under Brent Christensen

AIT Director Brent Christensen 

AIT Director Brent Christensen  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen is leaving his post after serving as Washington’s top diplomat in the East Asian nation for three years.

A special ceremony will be held at the Taipei Guest House on Thursday (June 24), during which Christensen will receive the Grand Medal of Diplomacy from Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) for his contributions toward advancing U.S.-Taiwan relations, CNA reported.

During his tenure, bilateral relations reached an unprecedented level. Taiwan and the U.S. held the first Pacific Islands Dialogue, the Taiwan-U.S. Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue, and signed a memorandum of understanding on coast guard cooperation. The State Department also issued new guidelines for bilateral exchanges.

Then-U.S. Secretary of Health Alex Azar and Undersecretary of State Keith Krach visited Taiwan last August and September, respectively. Azar is the highest-level U.S. Cabinet official to visit since the two countries broke off diplomatic relations in 1979, while Krach is the highest-level State Department official.

Most recently, the U.S. donated 2.5 million vaccine doses to Taiwan to help address its jab shortage.

AIT has not announced when Christensen will leave Taiwan or who will replace him. However, Sandra Oudkirk, the U.S. State Department's deputy assistant secretary for Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, is one possible successor, CNA wrote.

Meanwhile, AIT Deputy Director Raymond Greene, who has been stationed in Taiwan since 2018, will soon be reassigned as charge d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Japan. He will receive the Friendship Medal of Diplomacy at Thursday's ceremony.

Updated : 2022-01-22 01:11 GMT+08:00