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Biden administration official tapped as new American Institute in Taiwan head

Laura Rosenberger will begin role March 20

Laura Rosenberger has been announced as the next AIT chairperson. 

Laura Rosenberger has been announced as the next AIT chairperson.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The new head of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) will be former Biden administration China policy expert Laura Rosenberger, AIT announced on Thursday (March 2).

Rosenberger will begin her role as the Chair of the Board of AIT on March 20, when the current chair, James F. Moriarty, retires, the institute said. Described by Bloomberg as "particularly Hawkish" toward China, Rosenberger will take the role at a time of increasingly vocal support for Taiwan from U.S. lawmakers and military figures, and during a historical low point in U.S.-China relations.

Rosenberger’s departure from her position as the White House Senior Director for China and Taiwan on the National Security Council was reported on Feb. 15. At the time it was speculated that her departure was in preparation for taking the top spot at AIT.

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and National Security Council Secretary General Wellington Koo (顧立雄) reportedly met with Rosenberger on Feb. 21 during a meeting at the Washington headquarters of AIT, in which they held talks with other senior Biden administration officials. The talks lasted several hours, but no public statement about the meeting was issued.

Rosenburger made her most recent trip to the region in December when she visited China with Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink to discuss the eventually scrapped Blinken visit to Beijing and other issues. According to a Chinese foreign ministry statement, Taiwan was discussed during the meeting.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson said the talks were frank and wide ranging. “Assistant Secretary Kritenbrink and Senior Director Rosenberger made clear that the United States would continue to compete vigorously, stand up for U.S. interests and values, defend the rules-based international order, and coordinate closely with allies and partners,” the spokesperson said.

Reuters reported sources who said that Rosenberger would work to push through a backlog of arms sales from the U.S. to Taiwan. As of November, nearly US$19 billion (NT$582 billion) of weapons Taiwan had purchased from the U.S. were being held up, mainly due to U.S. support for Ukraine.