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AIT director bids farewell after three-year term in Taiwan

07/06/2024 09:54 PM
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Sandra Oudkirk, director of the American Institute in Taiwan's Taipei office. CNA file photo
Sandra Oudkirk, director of the American Institute in Taiwan's Taipei office. CNA file photo

Taipei, July 6 (CNA) Sandra Oudkirk, director of the American Institute in Taiwan's (AIT) Taipei office, has bid farewell in a video ahead of her departure from Taiwan after three years of serving as the de facto American ambassador.

In a pre-recorded video posted on social media on Friday, Oudkirk lauded the progress made by Taiwan and the United States on expanding bilateral trade and people-to-people ties over the past three years.

She highlighted the record numbers of U.S. Congress members visiting Taiwan, including then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August 2022.

However, Pelosi's whirlwind visit to Taiwan drew mixed reactions both at home and abroad, and Beijing, which considers Taiwan part of Chinese territory, later launched a series of retaliatory actions targeting Taiwan, including days of military exercises around the island.

The AIT director also mentioned efforts to ensure Taiwan has the capability to maintain its self-defense, likely referring to U.S. sales of defense articles to Taiwan.

Describing the two sides as "partners," she said the U.S. and Taiwan are bound by their shared commitment to freedom, democracy and innovation.

"These values run deep," she said, adding that "they bring us together, not just as individuals but as societies, in enduring partnership."

"The future is bright for the United States and Taiwan, and we will continue to do great things together," she added.

Oudkirk assumed the role of AIT director in July 2021. She will be succeeded by former deputy AIT director Raymond Greene, who has been posted to Tokyo since 2021.

Oudkirk was awarded two medals by President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) and Foreign Minister Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), respectively, earlier this week in recognition of her contributions to promoting relations between the U.S. and Taiwan.

AIT represents Washington's interest in Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic relations between the two sides.

(By Wu Shu-wei and Teng Pei-ju)

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