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Remarks by AIT Director Stephen M. Young at AIT Welcome Reception April 11, 2006

OT0605E | Date: 2006-04-11

Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends:

It is a real honor for Barbara and me to greet you all here this evening.  Though I arrived in Taipei on March 18, it is only tonight, as I gaze out at all these familiar faces, that I feel I have truly returned.  I would like to particularly express appreciation to my outstanding deputy, David Keegan, who has done so much for U.S.-Taiwan relations over the past three years.

As most of you know, this is my fifth opportunity to live on this beautiful island.  Last week I was able to return to Kaohsiung, where I first began to discover the allure of Formosa over forty years ago.  And tonight I can say that, while both Kaohsiung and Taipei continue to change all the time, they still hold that special attraction that keeps bringing me back.  My reflections of the very different Taiwan I first encountered in the early sixties also make me feel how important it is for all of us, citizens of this island and its many friends, to never forget how far Taiwan has come, and admire anew that remarkable achievement.

Most of all, it is the people of Taiwan that make it special.  You have made me and Barbara feel welcome each time we have come here, and you are demonstrating that warm hospitality again this evening.  This is why I have always been optimistic about Taiwan's ability to deal with whatever challenges the world presents:  because you have the grace and determination, the energy and the talent, to handle any challenge, and turn it to your advantage.

I represent the millions of Americans who have also benefited from contact with Taiwan, either on visits here or in contact with the Taiwan citizens who go to the United States as students, businessmen - and women -- or tourists, in reaffirming the enduring bonds of friendship and cooperation that have been forged over many decades.  No matter how much Taiwan continues to change, may those ties never falter!

I had the privilege of seeing David Dean, one of the many illustrious predecessors in whose footsteps I follow here as AIT Director, shortly before coming out here.  David may be a bit older, but he still has that twinkle in his eye and that enduring love of this place that I share.  He counseled me to remember one thing above all:  that our ties with Taiwan must be based upon mutual trust and respect.

Tonight, I pledge to do my best, in close cooperation with you, to further those close bonds of mutual trust and respect between our two peoples during the time I am privileged to serve here as Director of AIT.  Barbara and I also look forward to renewing old friendships and beginning new ones with all of you.

May I propose a toast, to the unshakeable ties of friendship between the American people and the people of Taiwan!