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Marut leaves Taiwan; new AIT director expected to arrive Monday

2015/06/05 20:15:34

Kin Moy

Taipei, June 5 (CNA) Christopher Marut departed for the United States on Friday after concluding his three-year tenure as the director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), according to the AIT.

Marut "extends his thanks to all of the people of Taiwan for having offered him a tremendously rewarding and enriching three years," the AIT said in a statement Friday.

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

Marut will be succeeded by Kin Moy, whose most recent diplomatic assignment was as deputy assistant secretary of state in the U.S. State Department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, with responsibility for U.S. relations with China, Mongolia, and Taiwan.

Moy is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan next Monday, Taiwan's Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) said in response to reporters' questions on the sidelines of a ceremony honoring Taipei Medical University for its efforts to provide medical services to people in Swaziland and Sao Tome and Principe, both diplomatic allies of Taiwan.

But when it was asked to confirm Moy's arrival date, the AIT said it was not yet releasing any further information on the new director.

Before his departure, Marut was awarded the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Wednesday in recognition of his contribution to deepening U.S.-Taiwan relations.

In an AIT post on its Facebook page, Marut said he accepted the award on behalf of the AIT team.

"Taiwan is an amazing success story -- as a dynamic democracy, an entrepreneurial, high technology economy, and a caring, cultured and educated society with deeply rooted beliefs in freedom and openness, human rights," the envoy was quoted as saying.

Marut took his post as the U.S.'s de-facto ambassador to Taipei in September 2012.

During Marut's tenure as AIT director, Taiwan was admitted to the U.S. visa-waiver program in 2012, and both countries also resumed talks under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in 2013.

Also in 2013, Taiwan and the U.S. signed a new agreement on Privileges, Exemptions and Immunities.

Exchanges were also stepped up between the two countries, including a trip by Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to Taiwan in April 2014, the first trip by a U.S. Cabinet-level official to Taiwan in nearly 14 years.

(By Elaine Hou)