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President Lai honors outgoing AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk

President Lai Ching-te presented the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon to Sandra Oudkirk, departing director of the American Institute in Taiwan, in recognition of her advancement of Taiwan-U.S. relations.
During a ceremony July 3 at the Presidential Office in Taipei City, Lai highlighted Oudkirk’s efforts over the past three years, including boosting Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities, promoting bilateral economic ties and supporting the country’s meaningful participation in U.N. and its specialized agencies.
Lai cited as evidence of Oudkirk’s effective advocacy the U.S. Congress’ authorization of presidential drawdown authority and foreign military financing to enhance Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities. The second phase negotiation of the Taiwan-U.S. Initiative on 21st Century Trade is underway following the first agreement signed last year, he added, saying that the initiative will help Taiwan play a key role in the restructuring of global supply chains.
Oudkirk also facilitated Taiwan’s expansion in the international space, Lai said, adding that the current administration and Congress have worked with other international community members to support Taiwan’s bid to join the World Health Assembly and its engagement in global affairs in recent years.
Saying that the current two-way ties are the best they’ve ever been, Lai thanked the outgoing director and expressed the hope that she would continue to support Taiwan.
In response, Oudkirk said she was honored to receive the medal, and reaffirmed that U.S. support for Taiwan remained strong, principled and bipartisan. The Taiwan-U.S. relationship is based on shared values of freedom, democracy and openness, she said, adding that she is optimistic about the future of the rock-solid partnership between the two sides. (YCH-E)
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