New representative to the U.S. an ‘excellent choice’: experts

CNA file photo of Hsiao Bi-khim courtesy of her office

WASHINGTON (CNA) — The appointment of Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) as Taiwan’s new representative to the United States has been praised by former U.S. officials and experts as an “excellent choice” given her connections in the U.S.

The Presidential Office announced Wednesday that Hsiao, a former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator and current National Security Council advisor, was appointed to the position, and she will be the first woman to serve in the role.

In an email to CNA, Richard Bush, former chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, said “Ms. Hsiao’s appointment will be welcomed in Washington.”

“She knows the United States well and has been involved in U.S.-Taiwan relations since the 1990s,” Bush said, adding that he was confident that Hsiao will make a significant contribution.

Bonnie Glaser, who studies Asia-Pacific security at top U.S. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), also praised Hsiao as an “excellent choice” for the role.

Hsiao has “deep experience in international affairs and U.S.-Taiwan relations; an extensive network of contacts in the United States with senior figures; and a close relationship with President Tsai,” Glaser told CNA.

Her relationship with Tsai is extremely important, Glaser said, because “senior U.S. officials need to be confident that they can convey messages that will reach Taiwan’s president.”

Randall Schriver, former assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, said he expects Hsiao to be an “outstanding representative,” citing her talent and connections in Washington.

Ted Yoho, a leading Republican member on the U.S House of Representative’s subcommittee on Asian affairs and vocal supporter of Taiwan, told CNA that U.S.- Taiwan relations are at their strongest in history, and he is looking forward to seeing Hsiao further strengthen bilateral ties.

In a statement issued Wednesday, AIT congratulated Hsiao on her appointment, and said that they felt confident that “the U.S.-Taiwan friendship will flourish during her tenure.”

Hsiao has a “strong record of advancing U.S.-Taiwan relations” and as a legislator, worked successfully with her colleagues and AIT to advance bilateral relations, the statement said.

Hsiao, who went to high school and college in the United States, has been working with the DPP for over twenty years.

Her first job was at the DPP’s Washington, D.C. office, and she headed the DPP’s Department of International Affairs after returning to Taiwan at the age of 26.

She later served as an interpreter and advisor to former President Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁), and was a legislator for four terms.

She was named a National Security Council advisor by President Tsai in March.