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Remarks by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen at the Opening of AIT@40 exhibition in Taitung
December 17, 2019

DIR Christensen in Taitung
DIR Christensen in Taitung

December 17, 2019

Remarks by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen at the Opening of AIT@40 exhibition in Taitung
December 17, 2019 

  (As Prepared for Delivery)

Magistrate Rao, Assistant Director General Wang, distinguished guests: DaJia Hao

It is an honor to open the AIT@40 exhibition here in Taitung today.  This is my first trip as AIT Director to Taitung, and I am very much enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery here in Taitung.

In 1979, the U.S. Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act and established the American Institute in Taiwan.  In the AIT@40 exhibition that we are here to open today, AIT has brought together documents, artifacts, interviews, hundreds of photos, and even augmented and virtual reality features to tell the story of AIT’s role in forging U.S.-Taiwan relations over the past 40 years.  The exhibition shows the breadth and depth of the engagement between the U.S. and Taiwan have shared since 1979.

The transformation of Taiwan and of this relationship over the past 40 years has been remarkable.  As we celebrate this important anniversary, we are also looking forward and focusing on even more ways to strengthen and broaden the U.S.-Taiwan relationship over the next 40 years and beyond.  Many of you know that AIT has recently moved into our new office space in Neihu.  This new $255-million facility is an important symbol of our long-term commitment to this partnership.  It is a modern complex built to serve as home base for AIT as we work to promote U.S.-Taiwan security cooperation, the U.S.-Taiwan economic and commercial relationship, Taiwan’s role in the global community, and people-to-people ties.

As part of our yearlong campaign celebrating forty years of U.S.-Taiwan friendship and cooperation, AIT has used each month of 2019 to feature a different theme, highlighting the multifaceted nature of the growing U.S.-Taiwan partnership.  We have named December AIT@40 Environment Month, and are holding a series of events all this month that underscore the strong environmental ties that bind the United States and Taiwan.

The foundation for the current U.S.-Taiwan environment cooperation was laid nearly three decades ago through technical exchanges between our two Environmental Protection Agencies.  Thanks to this partnership and to Taiwan’s own initiative, Taiwan has had tremendous success addressing environmental challenges, making it one of the most livable places in Asia.  But that success is not limited to Taiwan’s domestic environment only.  Taiwan has the vision, leadership, and generosity to share its best practices with the world.

To commemorate this legacy of achievement, AIT, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration (Taiwan EPA), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will participate in several key events that underscore our longstanding environmental cooperation.  The events are too many to mention here but cover areas from marine debris, to environmental law enforcement, to educational partnerships, to name just a few.  All these activities show the breadth and depth of the relationship between the United States and Taiwan on the environment.

In closing, I would like to thank the Taitung County Government for co-hosting this exhibition.  I would also like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Sun Yat-sen University for their support of this project, as well as for our many ongoing collaborations.  Thank you for joining us today.  Please enjoy the exhibition.