Taipei, March 11 (CNA) A former U.S. army officer posted at the American Institute in Taiwan's (AIT) Taipei Office, who retired last year, received a permanent residency certificate from Taiwan's government on Saturday, in recognition of his contribution to security cooperation between Taiwan and the United States.
Randy Hulme Lawrence, 53, took up his post in Taiwan as head of AIT's technical section five years ago. He was responsible for military cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S. and played an important role in helping upgrade Taiwan's self-defense capability.
Speaking at the ceremony to grant the Alien Permanent Resident Card to Lawrence, National Immigration Agency head Ho Jung-chun (何榮村) recognized his contribution in promoting bilateral security cooperation.
The former AIT officer said he was pleased to stay in Taiwan after his retirement, adding that he and his family love Taiwan. His three children currently attend school in the country and speak fluent Mandarin Chinese, he added.
The AIT represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties.
Lawrence is a military expert, who also specializes in international relations and policy development.
He graduated from University of Virginia with a bachelor's degree in Asian studies in 1987 and during his college years, he spent one year studying in China.
Lawrence later obtained a master's degree in security studies from the U.S. Naval War College in 2012.
From 2002-2005, he was posted in Hong Kong as a military attaché and was stationed in China from 2008-2011.
The Alien Permanent Resident Card, also known as the Plum Blossom Card, can be applied for by senior professionals and investment immigrants who have made a special contribution to Taiwan.
(By Chu Che-wei and Elaine Hou)