AIT director receives award from President Tsai

06/25/2021 03:37 PM
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From left: AIT Director Brent Christensen, President Tsai Ing-wen and AIT Deputy Director Raymond Greene. Photo courtesy of the Presidential Office
From left: AIT Director Brent Christensen, President Tsai Ing-wen and AIT Deputy Director Raymond Greene. Photo courtesy of the Presidential Office

Taipei, June 25 (CNA) American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen, whose three-year term ends this summer, received an award from President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Friday in recognition of his contributions to Taiwan-U.S. ties.

Accepting the Order of the Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon, Christensen said he was pleased to see growth in bilateral ties as the two sides weathered the global pandemic over the past year and a half.

"The achievements we have reached together during that time are a true testament of the determination and creativity that we share in our efforts to advance the relationship," Christensen said during a ceremony at the Presidential Office.

The recent outbreak in Taiwan has brought the U.S. and Taiwan even closer, he said.

"The events of recent weeks will be among my most cherished memories during my tenure as AIT Director," Christensen said.

They included a C-17 Globemaster bringing three U.S. senators on June 6 to announce the U.S. donation of 750,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine to Taiwan, and the unloading of crates containing 2.5 million vaccine doses on June 20 -- more than three times the amount promised -- he said.

Progress has also been made between Taiwan and the U.S. in areas such as security cooperation, economic relations and people-to-people ties, according to Christensen.

The U.S., based its commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to support Taiwan's self-defense, has also approved arms sales worth nearly US$17 billion to Taiwan, he said.

Christensen said he was also pleased that talks under the U.S.-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) will resume in the very near future. (Update: Taiwan, U.S. to resume TIFA talks on June 30)

"I may be leaving Taiwan, but Taiwan will never leave me," he said.

Tsai applauded Christensen's contributions to bilateral relations, saying that the achievements represented both real progress and real friendship between the two countries.

On Thursday, Christensen and AIT Deputy Director Raymond Greene also received awards from Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their diplomatic achievements.

According to Japan-based Kyodo News, Greene will assume office as the U.S.' interim ambassador to Japan, which is seen as "reflecting Washington's efforts to enhance bilateral cooperation to curtail Chinese pressure on the self-ruled island."

Greene said during the award ceremony that he will depart for Japan next week, and that he is looking forward to contributing to improving trilateral relations among Taiwan, Japan and the U.S.

(By Chung Yu-chen and Lee Hsin-Yin)


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