‘Staunch’ friend of Taiwan’s to become top US diplomat in Taipei, sources say By Reuters


It’s Ben Blanchard

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s close ally will take over as U.S. ambassador to Taipei this summer, three sources briefed on the matter said, aligning with the island’s new president at a time of heightened tensions with China.

Like many countries, the United States does not have a formal relationship with Taiwan, which it claims is China, but it is a major international supporter and arms supplier, much to the chagrin of Beijing. China has increased political and military power against Taiwan.

Sources, who were not named because they were not authorized to speak to the press, told Reuters that Mr. Raymond Greene, who is the deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Tokyo, will replace Sandra Oudkirk as the director of the American Institute in Taiwan. , or AIT.

The AIT regulates relations between the United States and Taiwan without official ties. Acting Ambassador Greene, who was the deputy director of AIT before going to Japan, will serve as the US ambassador to Taipei.

AIT referred questions to the US State Department, which did not respond to a request for comment.

“Greene is seen here as a close friend of Taiwan and knows Taiwan very well,” one of the sources said.

A second source said Greene, who speaks Japanese and Mandarin, could also serve as a bridge between Taiwan and Japan, given Tokyo’s concerns about possible Chinese military presence on the island.

Greene will assume his new role when Taiwan’s new president, Lai Ching-te, takes office. Lai, who won elections in January but was not inaugurated until May 20, is loathed by China, which views him as a dangerous isolationist and has rejected his talks.

Lai says only the people of Taiwan can decide their future, and rejects claims of Beijing’s authoritarianism.

It is unclear when Greene will take over, but sources say it will be this summer when Oudkirk’s tenure ends. He participated in July 2021.

Greene previously served as the US ambassador to Chengdu in southwest China and Okinawa in Japan, home to a US military base not far from Taiwan.

In 2021, just before moving from Taipei to Tokyo, Greene said in his speech that when he worked in Taiwan twenty years ago, all AIT did was related to Taiwan Strait issues and Taiwan’s relationship with the US -China.

But over the past three years, efforts have been focused on expanding relations and working together to help other countries develop their economies and democratic institutions, he said.

“The United States no longer sees Taiwan as a ‘problem’ in our relationship with China, we see it as an opportunity to advance our vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific and as a beacon for people around the world who are looking for a just, secure, prosperous world, it’s democratic,” added Greene.

China views Taiwan as a difficult and important issue in its relationship with the United States.

The United States will hold a presidential election in November, which could be another uncertainty in US-Taiwan relations, although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan said last week that it believes that US support will not change no matter who wins.

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