Back to list

Outgoing AIT head makes light-hearted speech at medal ceremony

2018/06/13 21:08:01

Kin Moy; CNA file photo

Taipei, June 13 (CNA) The outgoing de facto U.S. ambassador to Taiwan on Wednesday was awarded the highest honor given to an individual for diplomatic-related contributions by Taiwan's foreign ministry in recognition of his role in strengthening Taiwan-U.S. relations over his three-year tenure.

Kin Moy, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), was decorated with the Grand Medal of Diplomacy by Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) in a ceremony held at the Taipei Guest House. The AIT represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties.

Wu thanked Moy, the first Chinese-American to hold the post of AIT director, saying that he has worked "tirelessly to enhance the security, cultural, educational and people-to-people partnerships between our two countries."

A day earlier, Moy also presided over the dedication ceremony for the AIT's new Neihu complex, which is a landmark in bilateral ties, symbolizing U.S. commitment to Taiwan, he added.

In his acceptance speech, Moy said he accepted the award with "all humility but with great pride" on behalf of the AIT.

"People asked me what you missed the most about Taiwan, and I said well, it's all of these people, it is all of you," he said.

He also thanked his wife Kathy Chen (陳舲舲) and his children, who moved with him to Taiwan.

In a humorous vein, Moy said the one thing he feels sad about is his wife's lack of a sense of humor.

"We are going at our 20-something years of marriage and we've known each other for a long time, not once has she laughed at one of my jokes," he said, tongue-in-cheek.

He also joked about the no-show of one of his predecessors at the award ceremony.

Stephen Young, who served as AIT director from March 18, 2006 through July 3, 2009, was largely responsible for the planning and construction of the new complex.

Moy said he once received a letter of complaint from a local resident surnamed Lin, who claimed to be a member of the neighborhood committee near the new AIT building.

In his letter, Lin complained about a number of violations concerning the complex, saying it is guilty of ruining the neighborhood, threatening to demonstrate and asking to whom he might address his lawsuit.

Moy said he wrote back to Lin, pointing the finger at Young.

"He is certainly the man you are looking for, to which Mr. Lin responded: Thank you. Please tell Mr. Young I will see him in court" -- a lighthearted jibe that this is why Young did not attend his award ceremony.

Moy has served as AIT director since June 2015. AIT directors usually serve for three years, meaning that he is likely to leave the post this summer.

Moy has been in the U.S. Foreign Service for over 20 years, and has extensive experience with the Asia-Pacific region.

Before his post in AIT, his most recent diplomatic assignment was at the Department of State in Washington, DC, where he served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, according to the AIT.

His successor has yet to be announced.

(By Joseph Yeh)