June 24, 2021
Remarks by AIT Deputy Director Raymond Greene at
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Friendship Medal of Diplomacy
June 24, 2021
Let me begin by thanking Foreign Minister Wu not only for this gracious honor, but for everything you and your MOFA team have done to enhance the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. We at AIT could not have asked for better partners to advance our shared interests and values across the Indo-Pacific and around the world. It was almost exactly 19 years ago when I started my first assignment at AIT. My counterpart at the Foreign Ministry’s North American Affairs Department was Harry Tseng, and as the officer responsible for relations with the Presidential Office, I formed an instant bond with an energetic and eloquent Deputy Secretary General Joseph Wu.
It was great to be able to come back so many years later and work with old friends again. But our interactions these past three years have been totally different than our past experience. When I first worked with Joseph and Harry, everything we did related back to cross-Strait issues and how Taiwan fit into the U.S.-China relationship. In contrast, these past three years, our efforts have been overwhelmingly focused on deepening the bilateral U.S.-Taiwan relationship and working together to help other countries develop their economies and democratic institutions. I’ve lost count of how many meetings the Director and I have had with our Taiwan partners where the word “China” never even came up.
This reflects a fundamental change in the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. The United States no longer sees Taiwan as a “problem” in our relations with China, we see it as an opportunity to advance our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific and also as a beacon to peoples around the world who aspire for a more just, safe, prosperous, and democratic world. This has enabled us to focus our energies on building secure and resilient supply chains through our Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue, enhancing international law enforcement and public health through the GCTF, and tackling climate change through the U.S.-Taiwan International Environmental Partnership. President Biden recently highlighted our Coast Guard partnership which is protecting our fragile ocean environment and enhancing regional security. We are also exchanging hundreds of students and teachers under the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative. These are the things that have kept AIT and MOFA so busy these past three years.
The two most intense periods for both of us were also the most rewarding. First, was last spring when Taiwan donated millions of masks and medical supplies to the United States, all of it via our warehouse in Neihu, when America was hit by the first wave of COVID. Second, came these past few weeks as we worked to deliver 2.5 million Moderna vaccines to Taiwan in its most urgent hour of need. Our AIT and MOFA teams worked together around the clock to make both of these achievements happen and did so proudly knowing that we were saving our friends.
I will be leaving Taiwan for Japan next week, but fortunately will not be leaving the relationship. In fact, I look forward to contributing to the already strong momentum in U.S.-Taiwan-Japan trilateral cooperation. What I will miss are all of the friends and partners here at MOFA and AIT. I feel especially fortunate to have been able to work these past three years for Director Christensen. We share a love for Taiwan and its people and a passion for the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. I could not have asked for a better boss, mentor, and partner.
Minister Wu, let me thank you once again for this prestigious award. I accept it on behalf of both our teams for their hard work and achievements in advancing the U.S.-Taiwan relationship.