TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk met with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Tuesday (Aug. 10) for the first time since taking office in July.
In a Facebook post after their meeting Tsai warmly welcomed Oudkirk and described the newly appointed representative as a very experienced diplomat. Oudkirk had a posting in Taiwan in the 1990s and has a long-standing affection for Taiwan.
“She is an old friend of ours,” Tsai said.
The president also mentioned the first Pacific Islands Dialogue, held by Taiwan and the U.S. in 2019. Oudkirk, who was deputy assistant secretary of state at the time, led a delegation to Taiwan and delivered a keynote speech at the Global Monte Jade Forum. The two female politicians had an in-depth exchange of views on how to maintain peace and stability in the region.
Tsai pointed out some key points of progress that Taiwan and the U.S. have made recently, including the resumption of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and the U.S.' donation of 2.5 million doses of vaccine.
“I am expecting to work together with Director Oudkirk to continuously deepen the partnership between the two sides and expand opportunity for cooperation in various areas,” Tsai said.
Oudkirk said in her remarks that it was her honor to be posted in Taiwan again, as director of AIT. She described the timing as a "high-water mark” for the Taiwan-U.S. relationship and added she is looking forward to working with Tsai and her team to bolster the relationship further.
Oudkirk emphasized the emergence of more bilateral partnerships, including the restart of TIFA, and cooperation in economic, security, and security assistance programs. She also praised Taiwan's fight against the coronavirus.
Furthermore, Oudkirk noted the two governments share the value of democracy and underscored the U.S.' long-term commitment to Taiwan.