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Royce a perfect guest for AIT's new compound ceremony: Moy

2018/06/12 12:30:52

AIT Director Kin Moy

Taipei, June 12 (CNA) The visiting American delegation headed by an assistant secretary of state was perfect for the dedication ceremony of the new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) compound, the AIT's chief said Tuesday, amid reports that the United States did not send high-ranking officials to the event due to Chinese pressure.

Speaking to the press ahead of the dedication ceremony, AIT Director Kin Moy said he believed Marie Royce, assistant secretary of educational and cultural affairs in the U.S. Department of State, was a perfect guest for the ceremony.

"She (Marie Royce) is absolutely a perfect candidate, a perfect guest to come here because she reflects about 40 years of education and cultural cooperation between our sides," he said.

Moy noted that educational and cultural exchanges are in fact the high spots and high points of U.S.-Taiwan relations.

Also visiting Taiwan is U.S. Representative Gregg Harper, a co-chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus. Moy called him a longtime friend of Taiwan, and said "his being here is the reflection of the strong bipartisan support we have in our U.S. Congress" for Taiwan.

The AIT director said he has previously assured local media that the visitors from Washington for the special event would all be "good friends of Taiwan."

"They are representatives of several decades of strong relations which they have been a part of," he said.

Moy praised the delegation sent by Washington when asked about a report saying the U.S. did not send a high-level Cabinet official for the ceremony due to pressure from China.

A June 10 Wall Street Journal quoted an anonymous U.S. official as saying that Chinese diplomats urged the Donald Trump administration not to dispatch a senior Cabinet secretary to the event.

Doing so, the diplomats suggested, would violate an understanding that Washington should have only unofficial relations with Taiwan, the article said.

Asked if he was disappointed that no U.S. Cabinet-level officials attended Tuesday's event, AIT Chairman James Moriarty said people need to respect that "there is actually a lot going on in the region today," referring to the historic meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

"I also believe that assistant secretary Royce is a good friend of Taiwan's, a strong advocate for the relationship," he said.

Meanwhile, both Moy and Moriarty sidestepped the question when asked to confirm a statement by former AIT Director Stephen Young last year that U.S. Marines will be posted at the new AIT compound.

Both reiterated that there is already a small number of U.S. personnel at the current AIT offices on Xinyi Road who coordinate with Taiwanese security staff to provide security for the building and its staff and the situation will continue in Neihu.

"We don't make political statements with our security. What we do is we bring a sufficient number of people to coordinate with local staff to ensure that the people inside our buildings are very safe," Moy said.

The two AIT officials made the comments before a dedication ceremony of the new AIT complex in Neihu.

(By Joseph Yeh)
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