US Opens New De-Facto Embassy in Taiwan, Angering China

Elias Hubbard
June 12, 2018

The new de facto USA embassy in Taipei reaffirms Washington's commitment to Taiwan as China steps up diplomatic and military pressure on the self-ruled island.

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

Reaffirming that the new office complex is "a testament to the strong USA commitment to Taiwan", Moriarty said the US would continue its "abiding commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act" and "support Taiwan's ability to defend itself and to make positive contributions to the worldwide community".

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has been aiming to take advantage of the dedication and the visit by senior U.S. officials to push for further liberalization of arms sales, technological transfers, as well as possible port calls by United States warships. 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.

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

Tsai hailed the complex as a new chapter in the "great story of US-Taiwan relations".

Also in attendance were Rep. Gregg Harper and Marie Royce, the US assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs.

"Our friendship brings the best out of both our peoples", Royce said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Beijing was "gravely concerned" with the inauguration of the building.

In remarks at the ceremony, AIT Director Kin W Moy called the new building "a symbol of the close cooperation and enduring friendship between the United States and Taiwan". That includes a bill encouraging visits between USA and Taiwanese officials at all levels, unanimously passed by Congress and signed into law this year. "The new office complex is a symbol of the strength and vibrancy of the US-Taiwan partnership in the 21st century".

The widely read Chinese state-run newspaper the Global Times on Tuesday said China needed to warn Taiwan and the USA against provocation.

China has also stepped up military exercises and air patrols close to Taiwan.

The new AIT compound was constructed over nine years and has cost the U.S. some $250 million. The organization, which was first established in 1979 after the diplomatic shift, plans to officially relocate to the new facility this fall.

Still, the United States has not sold F-35 fighter jets, as requested by Taipei, offered actual submarines or docked a naval vessel in Taiwan despite talk in Washington.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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