U.S. unveils de facto embassy in Taiwan amid China tensions

Elias Hubbard
June 12, 2018

The AIT will move into its new complex later this year.

The US Assistant Secretary of State on Cultural Affairs, Marie Royce, will visit Taiwan's capital Taipei to attend a ceremony opening a new building housing the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), widely acknowledged as the de facto American embassy to Taiwan.

Commenting on US-Taiwan relations, Harper said that as the caucus co-chair, he would assure people in Taiwan that "in Washington DC, our commitment is as strong or stronger than ever, and will continue that way in the future". It opened the American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) to conduct relations between the two sides after severing ties. "The new office complex is a symbol of the strength and vibrancy of the US-Taiwan partnership in the 21st century".

As free and democratic societies, the USA and Taiwan share the same values, and this would allow them to maintain close relations, Harper said.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Marie Royce are expected to speak at today's event, the AIT said.

During the ceremony, USA ambassador James Moriarty and Royce reiterated Washington's commitment to uphold the relationship with Taiwan, calling the new facility "a symbol of strength and vibrancy of the United States and Taiwan partnership in the 21st century".

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.

AIT Chairman James Moriarty, who arrived in Taiwan on Sunday, yesterday said the new AIT complex is "an important symbol" of U.S. commitment to Taiwan. AIT's Taipei office has almost 500 American and local employees, while its Kaohsiung branch has more than 30 staff.

The ceremony was attended by scores of high-ranking Taiwan officials as well as senior business executives, including Morris Chang, the former chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), the world's biggest contract chip maker.

China claims self-ruled Taiwan under its "one China" policy and Beijing has never renounced the use of force to bring what it sees as a wayward province under its control. Beijing suspects Tsai wants to push for formal independence, which would cross a red line for Communist Party leaders in Beijing.

Royce is a wife of Republican Ed Royce, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, a politician who has promoted several pro-Taiwan bills, including the Taiwan Travel Act, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports.

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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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