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Marut fits AIT Taipei director profile: foreign minister

2012/04/27 19:59:26

Taipei, April 27 (CNA) Christopher Marut fits the profile one would expect for a director of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Foreign Minister Timothy Yang said Friday, amid reports Marut will be appointed to head the office later this year.

The United States sees Taiwan as a serious economic and security partner, so it is bound to choose an individual familiar with regional geopolitics to take over for incumbent director William Stanton later this year, Yang said in an interview with CNA.

Marut, an experienced U.S. diplomat with a deep understanding of Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, has reportedly been appointed to succeed Stanton, who completes his three-year tenure this August.

The AIT represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of official ties.

Marut is currently the director of the Office of Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Island Affairs under the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Although unwilling to confirm Marut's appointment, Yang said "he fits the profile" because "he fully understands Taiwan's importance and position in the international community."

Yang also acknowledged Marut's familiarity with the U.S. strategic focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

Given the strong ties between Taipei and Washington, the minister said the candidate will be "carefully selected" and will "have no problem communicating with top U.S. officials," including those in the White House.

Marut served as the director of the bureau's Office of Regional and Security Policy before being assigned in 2007 to Hong Kong, where he served as deputy consul general until 2009 and as acting consul general from August 2009 to March 2010.

Marut has also served in the AIT's Taipei Office and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

(By Nancy Liu)