VP thanks AIT for contributions to bilateral ties

Taipei, May 31 (CNA) Vice President Chen Chien-jen (???) on Thursday praised the contributions of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) -- the de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan -- over the past four decades in promoting bilateral ties in the absence of official diplomatic ties.

He expressed hope that the opening of a new AIT compound in Neihu next month will move Taiwan-U.S. relations to a new stage.

In a ceremony in Taipei to open an exhibition marking the 40th anniversary of the founding of AIT, Chen said Taiwan has undergone liberalization and democratization following World War II. During the process, Chen said, the U.S. has always stood alongside Taiwan.

He said the opening of the new compound will exemplify the longstanding friendship between the two countries.

AIT announced earlier this month that a dedication ceremony will be held June 12 to unveil its Neihu compound, which will officially open later this year following nearly a decade of construction.

In his address, AIT Director Kin Moy noted that in 1979, the U.S. Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act and established AIT.

He said he is delighted to see the exhibition titled "Strong Foundation, Bright Future: AIT@40, U.S.-Taiwan Relations Since 1979," being held at the National 228 Memorial Museum, which previously housed the American Cultural Center.

The exhibition features documents, artifacts, interviews, 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, he said.

"In 1979, no one could have foreseen the ways in which U.S.-Taiwan relations would flourish. There is now more cooperation than ever before in our history. I hope this exhibit gives everyone an idea of how far we have come and gives everyone optimism about future possibilities," he said.

The exhibition will run until Sept. 30 and will then be staged around the country starting from next year, according to AIT.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel