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New envoy to U.S. to represent Taipei with authority: ex-AIT head

2012/09/20 14:31:38

Taipei, Sept. 20 (CNA) Noted American scholars versed in Taiwan and China affairs have hailed the nomination of King Pu-tsung, one of President President Ma Ying-jeou's most trusted proteges, as Taiwan's new representative to the United States.

Douglas Paal, a former de facto U.S. ambassador to Taiwan who is now vice president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said in an email response to CNA that people in Washington, D.C. have become familiar with King through his work in Taiwan and from his time at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank.

"We know King Pu-tsung from Taiwan and from his time at Brookings, we all like him, and we know he will represent Taipei with authority," wrote Paal, who once served as director of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan, which represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties.

Paal also praised those nominated for national security, foreign and cross-Taiwan Strait affairs posts in Ma's latest partial government reshuffle, saying that all the nominees are "quite well-known, knowledgeable and professionally competent for their new roles."

"We in Washington will miss the ever-familiar and activist Director Jason Yuan," Paal added, referring to Taiwan's outgoing representative to the U.S., who will return to Taipei in early October to serve as secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC).

Alan Romberg, head of the East Asia program at the Stimson Center, another Washington-based think tank, also lauded Taiwan's latest government shake-up, saying that the reported changes mark "making good use of talent while also injecting some fresh approaches into positions as President Ma enters more fully into his second term."

Romberg especially noted the reassignment of Yuan as the NSC secretary-general and the naming of King Pu-tsong to replace him.

Noting that Yuan has been an outstanding Taiwan representative in Washington who has shown a very firm grasp of the full range of issues and excellent judgment, Romberg said Yuan will bring not only a wealth of experience and the full trust of Ma to the crucial position but will also take with him the full trust of the broad range of Americans with whom he has dealt over many years.

Romberg further said that King will be warmly welcomed as Taiwan's new envoy in Washington as "he has also demonstrated sound judgment and a keen sensitivity to the political realities in both Taiwan and the United States, which affect the relationship so crucially."

Bonnie Glaser, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, shared the views of Paal and Romberg, hailing King's new assignment as "good news for U.S.-Taiwan relations."

"He will be an effective interlocutor between the U.S. and Taiwan governments. King's close relationship with President Ma is an asset for Washington, enabling him to gain access directly to Ma to convey important messages or to get something urgent accomplished," Glaser said in an email.

Pointing out that in the coming three-and-a-half years, economic issues are likely to be at the top of the U.S.-Taiwan agenda, Glaser said King will be in a position to help promote the resumption of talks under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and the expansion of U.S.-Taiwan economic relations.

Referring to Yuan's new assignment, Glaser said that from his new perch at the NSC, Yuan will be able to head the high-level "special channel" talks that take place periodically between Washington and Taipei, given his pre-existing close ties with Washington and his familiarity with all the issues pertaining to U.S.-Taiwan relations.

(By Jay Chen and Sofia Wu)