Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

United States upsets China with new de facto embassy in Taiwan

United States upsets China with new de facto embassy in Taiwan

And AIT Director Kin Moy, for one, said Tuesday he eagerly welcomes this "testament to this friendship, to the US commitment to Taiwan, and to our staying power in Taiwan".

It was opened to conduct relations with Taiwan following Washington's decision to switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

The American Institute in Taiwan, built over nine years at a cost of about $250 million, is bankrolled by the USA government and staffed by diplomats, effectively making the complex an embassy all but in name.

TAIPEI-Tuesday is a big day for China, thanks to the Trump administration-and not only because the US president plans to meet with the leader of North Korea.

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.

Through a press statement issued last weekend, the AIT, two days ahead of the ceremony, announced that Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for educational and cultural affairs, would represent the US government to unveil the new AIT complex with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and other top officials from her administration. Since the USA established diplomatic ties with China almost four decades ago, Washington has acknowledged that claim and cut ties with Taiwan - formally, at least. "The great story of Taiwan-US relations remains to be filled with the efforts of those that will one day occupy this building", Tsai added.

The new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) is seen in Taipei, Taiwan, June 2, 2018.

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Taiwan's foreign ministry noted that before assuming her post, Royce had visited the island with her husband, US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, a number of times.

Tsai has also refused to acknowledge the "1992 consensus" that there is only "one China" and that Taiwan forms part of it. Beijing say the principle forms the basis of any ties between the mainland and Taiwan. Trump has previously vowed to honor Beijing's One China policy, but Washington's recent attempts to cozy up to Taiwan have undermined Beijing's confidence in his pledge.

"The opening tomorrow of the new AIT headquarters shows how important our relationship is to the USA", the Republican lawmaker from MS said.

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

Meanwhile, the Beijing-based Global Times noted on the weekend that China had to be prepared for a crisis in the Taiwan Strait, following the conclusion of the island's annual anti-Chinese invasion drill, as well as a Reuters report that Washington could be considering sending a US Navy vessel through the strait.

"China and the United States are likely to face a new Taiwan Straits crisis sooner or later".

The US is embroiled in a major trade row with China, but is keen to avoid a diplomatic fallout as it needs Beijing's help to solve the North Korea nuclear issue.

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