Taiwan: United States opens de facto embassy in capital Taipei, angers China

Taiwan: United States opens de facto embassy in capital Taipei, angers China

Taiwan: United States opens de facto embassy in capital Taipei, angers China

"We should all be proud of this milestone, which is a symbol of the close cooperation and enduring friendship between the United States and Taiwan", AIT Director Kin W. Moy, the USA ambassador in all but name, said at the dedication ceremony. "The new office complex is a symbol of the strength and vibrancy of the US-Taiwan partnership in the 21st century". The just-completed American Institute in Taiwan office in a suburb of the capital Taipei functions as Washington's de facto embassy in the absence of formal diplomatic relations.

An assistant U.S. secretary of state will attend the unveiling of a massive new complex for Washington's de facto embassy in Taiwan, a visit less likely to unnerve Beijing which was concerned that higher-level American officials may attend.

The new building best represents the progress in bilateral ties made over the past years, but it will not officially begin operations until early September, the AIT said.

Marie Royce, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, attended the dedication ceremony with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen. Since the US established diplomatic ties with China almost four decades ago, Washington has acknowledged that claim and cut ties with Taiwan - formally, at least.

President Tsai, who was seen joyfully chatting with Royce during the entire ceremony, said, "As we dedicate this building, we also rededicate ourselves to our common sense of goal".

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American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) director Kin Moy told Reuters that the complex will be used as a representative office later in the summer. The policy dictates that the USA formally recognize only one Chinese government - the Communist apparatus based in Beijing - and officially eschew relations with a Taiwanese government, which has proclaimed itself the "Republic of China".

Yet, as NPR's Rob Schmitz explains, Washington has been creeping steadily closer to Taiwan under the Trump administration. It manages its relations through the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

"The friendship between Taiwan and the USA has never been more promising".

Following the beginning performances, including a passionate percussion show and the solemn singing of America's national anthem, the officials on the main stage, one after another, gave their remarks that were heavily centered around promoting the relationship between Taiwan and the U.S.

Beijing has also increased the frequency of military exercises in the last few months, including deploying its own aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, in the Taiwan Strait.

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"We urge the US to abide by its pledge to China and correct its mistake to avoid harming China-US relations and peace in the Taiwan Strait".

The new AIT compound was constructed over nine years and has cost the U.S. some $250 million.

"The mainland must continue to build up its deterrence against Taiwanese authorities, making them know that the United States can not be their savior", it said in an editorial on the opening of the new office.

Trump decided not to send cabinet-level officials to the opening ceremony to avoid further antagonising Beijing amid other tensions over trade and China's claims to much of the South China Sea, sources with ties to the USA and Chinese governments told the South China Morning Post earlier this month.

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