TAIPEI, Taiwan — The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) promoted sports diplomacy at a U.S. Independence Day celebration Thursday, featuring a performance by the Chicago Luvabulls cheerleaders and Taiwanese and American athletes, including the winner of this year’s NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
World No.1 female badminton player Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) of Taiwan, Taiwan’s top woman golfer Teresa Lu (盧曉晴) and Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon, who recently won the NBA Rookie of the Year award, as well as young exceptional Taiwanese basketball players and the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade mascot “Bravo,” all attended the event, the AIT said.
“We chose a sports theme, and specifically basketball, for this event, to not only celebrate the University Games, but also represent America,” AIT Director Kin Moy said in a speech at the reception. Basketball, invented in the U.S. in 1891, is a popular sport in the U.S., Taiwan and around the world, he said.
Making a sports simile, Moy — dressed in a black t-shirt and jeans — said that “U.S.-Taiwan relations are like a team.”
Noting that TEAM also stands for “Together Everyone Achieves More,” he said that is how he sees relations between Taiwan and the U.S.
“We are stronger together,” he said, adding that the two sides have shared values, prosperity and security.
Taiwan is a valued partner of the U.S. that has made meaningful contributions to addressing regional and global challenges, he said, addressing hundreds of guests, including Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) and former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
Citing as examples, he noted the Taiwan-U.S. cooperation in digital economy and partnership at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. The two sides have also worked together under the Global Cooperation and Training Framework to train officials from around the Asia-Pacific region in combating pandemic diseases and on humanitarian and disaster relief.
Moy also noted that he has just come back to Taiwan from Washington, where he heard “universal praise of what a great partner Taiwan is.”
“It’s great to have a teammate like Taiwan,” he added.
Chen — wearing a Los Angeles Lakers jersey — extended his congratulations to the U.S. on behalf of the Taiwan government.
Highlights of the reception included the performance by the Chicago Luvabulls cheerleaders and a pop-a-shot contest between Moy and Brogdon, which were broadcast live on AIT’s Facebook page.
It was AIT’s first Facebook live broadcast of its Independence Day celebration, and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) left a comment, wishing AIT friends “Happy Independence Day.”
The AIT represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties.