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Brent Christensen: AIT’s New Director Talks About His Priorities Regarding US-Taiwan Relations

Brent Christiansen, the new head of the American Institute in Taiwan, recently spoke to the press for the first time, where he said promoting security cooperation and economic engagement with Taiwan were top priorities.

Christensen, effectively Taiwan's U.S. de facto ambassador, also said his priorities were boosting Taiwan’s role in the international arena and people-to-people ties between the two nations.

Christensen began his talk with local and foreign media by describing Taiwan’s political and technological achievements as a positive development for Asia.

“As the American Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner once wrote: ‘The past is never dead, it’s not even past,’” Christensen said.

“That has never been more true than in Asia, where past historical grievances and unresolved conflicts remain so much in the present.

“But at the same time, we are seeing many new, positive political and technological changes in the region. And Taiwan is an important part of that more positive story line.”

Christensen also stressed that current cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan would continue.

“We will continue to cooperate with Taiwan to promote our shared democratic values and nurture improvements in our economic relationship,” Christensen said.

“And we will continue to honor our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act.”

Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State, in July announced new U.S. investments of US$113 million in the Indo-Pacific region.

In his speech, Pompeo said the investment plans included US$25 million for promoting digital connectivity, US$50 million for energy projects and US$30 million for infrastructure.

Christensen alluded to Pompeo’s remarks as he stressed the vital role Taiwan would play in this investment strategy.

“As we look ahead, our shared traditions of innovation and entrepreneurship will ensure that the United States and Taiwan both benefit from our continued economic engagement,” Christensen said.

Besides economic engagement, the AIT director also said he wanted to promote people-to people ties, including immigration and tourism.

“ Hundreds of thousands of people from Taiwan have immigrated to the United States. Among these immigrants are Nobel Prize laureates, high-tech pioneers and award-winning actors and directors,” Christensen said.

In order to enhance these ties, the AIT and Taiwan have introduced some practical paths for making two sides closer, such as Global Entry for Taiwan and e-Gate for the U.S.

America’s Visa Waiver Program, which is marking its sixth anniversary, is another other program that Taiwan has joined.

In conclusion, Christensen said he is looking forward to more substantial cooperation between U.S. and Taiwan.

“Over the next three years, I look forward to further strengthening the many U.S.-Taiwan connections that have made this such a positive relationship for the U.S., Taiwan and for the world. “

Feliciana Hsu
English journalist and PR for Global Affairs

Feliciana gained her MSc of Media Power and Public Affairs from Royal Holloway, University of London.

After graduating from London, she started her career of being journalist at Business Next Media and Meet Startup @TW Website, and specializes in interviewing about innovation and technology.

Within her career, she has interviewed various experts in their field, including Mr.Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia; Fleur Pellerin, former French Minister of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Sir Christopher Pissarides, Nobel Prize Laureate in Economic in 2010.