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Top envoy to US arrives to officially begin duties

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's new top envoy to the United States Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) arrived in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to officially assume his post.

Shen and his wife arrived at Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. on Tuesday morning. Upon their arrival, a group of overseas Taiwanese and U.S. officials, including Joseph R. Donovan, Jr., managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan, were at the airport to welcome them.

Speaking to Taiwanese media at the airport, Shen said he previously served at Taiwan's representative office in Washington for more than 12 years. This new assignment would mark his fourth assignment to the U.S.

The envoy said there are a number of challenges waiting for him in Washington. But he is confident that he can do a good job with all the support and friends he has in the U.S.

One of the first assignments for Shen is to participate in a reception to be held by the U.S. Congress on April 2 celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, (台灣關係法, TRA)

The TRA was implemented on April 10, 1979 to maintain relations between the people of the U.S. and the people of Taiwan following Washington's switch of its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

Taiwan and the U.S. are also scheduled to hold a new round of the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks on April 4 in Washington, D.C.

Asked to comment on the student-led protest in Taipei regarding a controversial cross-strait trade pact, Shen told Taiwanese reporters that the ongoing dispute could affect upcoming Taipei-Washington trade talks. He did not elaborate on the issue.

A Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday in Taipei that Taiwan will seek U.S. support for the nation's participation in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bloc at the next round of the TIFA talks.

A former Taiwanese top envoy to the UK, Shen departed from London a day before to take up the new post in the U.S.

A career diplomat, the 64-year-old Shen previously served as Taiwan's deputy representative to the U.S. and as a deputy foreign minister before becoming the nation's de facto ambassador to the UK in December 2011.

Shen's predecessor King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) returned to Taiwan last month to take over as President Ma Ying-jeou's new chief national security advisor.

The Foreign Ministry has yet to announce Shen's successor.

Local media previously reported that Deputy Foreign Minister Joseph Shih (石定) could fill the vacancy left by Shen in London.

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Taiwan's new top envoy to the United States Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡), left, shakes hands with Joseph R. Donovan, Jr., managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan, right, upon his arrival at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday morning, April 1. (CNA)

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