AIT Chairman Bush resigns to join Washington think tank

Chris Cockel,The China Post, Washington D.C.

American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman and Managing Director Richard C. Bush on Friday announced his intention to resign from his position. Bush, who has held his position since 1997, will become a senior fellow and director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at a Washington-based think tank, the Brookings Institution, in July. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as AIT’s chairman and managing director for the last four-plus years. I value very deeply the many friendships I made during that time and the many kindnesses the Taiwan people have shown me,” Bush said in a press release. “I appreciate the opportunity to have made a contribution to the U.S.-Taiwan relationship, which I believe is better now than it has been in a long time. I leave my position confident about Taiwan’s future and about the relations between our two peoples,” he continued. Bush did not say why he was leaving, but some reports said that since U.S. President George W. Bush was elected, relations between Taiwan and the U.S. have become more direct, making Richard Bush’s job as a liaison less important.

Current Deputy Managing Director Barbara J. Schrage is expected to take over as acting managing director until a replacement is found. Bush, no relation to U.S. President George W. Bush, was appointed to his position under the Democratic administration of former President Bill Clinton, and will be replaced by an individual selected by the current Republican government.

Although no permanent replacement for Bush has yet been named, co-founder, president and chief operating officer of the U.S. Asia Commercial Development Corporation, Therese M. Shaheen, was reported to be a candidate back in April.

The AIT, a quasi-official body authorized to handle relations between the U.S. and Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties, was created under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).