Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

USA unveils new ‘embassy’ in Taiwan amid strained China ties

James Moriarty Marie Royce Tsai Ing-wen William Moser Kin Moy James Moriarty Marie Royce Tsai Ing-wen William Moser Kin Moy
Melinda Barton | 12 June, 2018, 22:33

Meanwhile, Marie Royce, assistant secretary of educational and cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, is now in Taiwan to participate in the dedication ceremony, scheduled for June 12, for the AIT's new office complex in Taipei's Neihu District.

After the de-facto USA embassy in Taiwan has operated on its current site in Da'an District for nearly four decades, the AIT's new office complex, which cost US$255 million and took nearly a decade to construct, was finally near completion and opening. Moy will then step down next week with no successor named to replace him, adding to the 47 other US diplomatic missions around the world that now don't have ambassadors. As a result, Washington cut diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979 but continues to act as a close ally and generous weapons supplier for the island nation.

In March, Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act, which aims to increase travel and visits "at all levels", including state officials and business leaders, both on the U.S. and the Taiwanese side.

The US switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979 but maintains economic, political and security ties with Taiwan, according to AFP.

The White House is cautious about its Taiwan policy in the lead-up to the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on Tuesday, the same day of the dedication of AIT's new office.

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

The US-funded American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) unveiled its new headquarters in Taiwan's capital on Tuesday, amid growing tension between the US and China over the fate of the disputed island. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China had lodged "stern representations" with Washington.

Among other officials attending the ceremony was Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, whose independence-leaning administration Beijing has sought to isolate diplomatically and threatens with invasion.

Yet the US and Taiwan have maintained a robust informal relationship.

"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". China also has recently pointedly conducted several military drills in the Taiwan strait and around the island.

Meanwhile, the AIT is happily plowing ahead with its big move.

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

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".