But Stephen Young will have to handle Chen's 'surprises' The US has named Stephen Young to head the American Institute in Taiwan - its de facto embassy on the island in the absence of diplomatic ties. But analysts say that like his predecessor Douglas Paal, Dr Young is expected to have a tough time dealing with the government of President Chen Shui-bian, whose continuous 'surprise' statements have created headaches for the US administration. Dr Young, the former US ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, would assume duties next month after consultations in Washington, the institute said. Mr Paal returned to the United States on January 25 after 31/2 years in Taiwan. Diplomatic sources said Taiwan gladly accepted the appointment of Dr Young, who served as the institute's deputy director between 1998 and 2001. The sources said Taiwan believed that unlike Mr Paal, Dr Young was friendly to the island. During his stint as deputy director, Dr Young spoke out against legislators from the opposition pan-blue alliance over their backlash against the decision by the Chen government in late 2000 to scrap the construction of a controversial fourth nuclear power plant. But analysts pointed out that Dr Young was merely reflecting the position of the US, which at the time stumped for President Chen, who had just taken power from the Kuomintang in May that year. 'After Young assumes the post, the atmosphere could be more amiable than that of Paal,' said Edward Chen I-hsin, professor of American studies at Tamkang University, referring to Dr Young's relations with the Chen government. The US expert said the post required Dr Young to reflect the position of the US, which had been growing more impatient with various 'surprises' President Chen has made in the past six years. Dr Young was born in Washington, and during childhood lived in the southern port city of Kaohsiung for two years. He was educated at the University of Chicago where he received a master's and PhD in history. He has three children with his wife Barbara Finamore. He has held various positions at the State Department, including the office of Chinese and Mongolian affairs. His overseas posts included two in Moscow, one in Beijing and one in Taipei. On January 1, Mr Chen caught the US off guard by unveiling a plan to tighten controls on mainland investments and promote a separate identity for the island. On January 29, Mr Chen surprised Washington yet again by saying he would scrap the National Unification Council, a body that leaves open the possibility of cross-strait unification. He also said he would push for the island to join the United Nations under the name 'Taiwan' and push for a new constitution. Washington, a long-time arms supplier of Taiwan and an informal ally, has since then expressed concerns three times, fearing the remarks would further escalate cross-strait tension. Media reports said Mr Chen's remarks had infuriated US President George W. Bush, who could use the opportunity of a planned visit by President Hu Jintao in April to embarrass Mr Chen. Taiwanese authorities rejected the reports as groundless. Professor Chen said Dr Young would have to deal with further surprises from President Chen, who apparently had made up his mind to campaign for the island's independence, before he steps down in 2008.