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AIT Taipei director to be announced soon: official

2012/05/01 15:13:57

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) The new director of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) will be announced soon, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday, amid reports that Christopher Marut has been appointed to the position.

Bruce Linghu, head of the ministry's Department of North American Affairs, declined to disclose whether Taiwan had been informed of an appointment, saying only that the United States would make an announcement soon.

It has been reported in the Taiwan media that Marut, an experienced U.S. diplomat with a deep understanding of Taiwan, China and Hong Kong affairs, will succeed incumbent director William Stanton, who will complete his three-year tenure this August.

The United Daily News suggested in its report that Marut was not enough of a "heavyweight" to oversee Taiwan-U.S. relations.

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

"It's like appointing a senior director of the MOFA's Department of Asia and Pacific Affairs as Taiwan's representative to the U.S.," the paper said, citing a diplomatic source who implied that Marut was not a good choice for the job.

But Linghu said there is no need for the public to "over-interpret the issue."

Given the strong ties between Taipei and Washington, Linghu said, the U.S. is sure to assign someone capable of handling the job of AIT director.

The AIT represents U.S. interest in Taiwan in the absence of formal ties.

(By Nancy Liu)