Ex-congressman could be next American Institute in Taiwan chief: scholar

The China Post

By Joseph Yeh — Recently retired U.S. congressman Matt Salmon could be the next de facto U.S. ambassador to Taiwan, an American scholar has said. June Teufel Dreyer, professor of Political Science at the University of Miami, said in an article published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute on Jan. 17 that the former Mormon missionary and Mandarin Chinese speaker could be the next American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) head.

In the article entitled “Trump and Taiwan: A Fresh Start or a Turn for the Worse?” Dreyer noted that the advisory team of Donald Trump included several individuals known to be favorable to Taiwan, among them former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Randy Schriver and Stephen Yates, a former deputy national security adviser to then-Vice-President Dick Cheney.

“A former Mormon missionary and Mandarin speaker, Matt Salmon, who served on the House Rules Committee and its Appropriations Committee while representing Arizona in Congress, is believed to be the next head of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT),” she said.

The AIT represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic relations. The 59-year-old former congressman retired from politics in 2016.

He was a former chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and had initiated several bills to support Taiwan’s participation in international organizations. A recent example was the bill passed by the House of Representatives on Nov. 2, 2015 that backed Taiwan’s participation as an observer in Interpol. During a visit to Taiwan in Nov. 2015, Salmon told local media that he had lived in Taiwan from 1977 to 1979 as a missionary and, “Taiwan is like my second home.” Salmon also reiterated that he was not satisfied with the U.S. “One-China” policy that recognized Beijing rather than Taipei and prevented the latter from participating in international organizations. “I have a real problem with some of the aspects of the ‘one China’ policy. Taiwan’s exclusion from many organizations hurts Taiwan and the rest of us too,” he noted.