ibusinesslines.com August 22, 2018

United States opens new US$ 250 million de facto embassy in Taipei

15 June 2018, 04:18 | Erica Roy

President Tsai Ing-wen and Gregg Harper

President Tsai Ing-wen and Gregg Harper

Senior U.S. diplomats and Taiwan's president attended Tuesday's dedication ceremony, which took place in Taipei.

The United States formally unveiled its new de facto embassy in Taiwan on Tuesday, signalling its continued commitment to help defend the island amid escalating tensions between Taipei and mainland China.

Despite not having official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the United States has maintained the American Institute in Taipei (AIT), which has been effectively functioning as the de facto U.S. Embassy since it was established in 1979.

On Monday night, China's state-run tabloid Global Times published an editorial, suggesting Beijing should warn the U.S. and Taiwan of possible consequences for any provocative move. "Taiwan authorities on the many partnerships and exchanges between the USA and Taiwan".

"The new office complex is a symbol of the strength and vibrancy of the US-Taiwan partnership in the 21st century".

China's hostility towards Taiwan has grown since President Tsai Ing-wen was elected in 2016. "The great story of Taiwan-US relations remains to be filled with the efforts of those that will one day occupy this building", Tsai said.

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

Marie Royce, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, and U.S. Congressman Gregg Harper are expected to attend Tuesday's ceremony.

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.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Tuesday said it had lodged stern representations with the United States about the new AIT building.

Yet, as NPR's Rob Schmitz explains, Washington has been creeping steadily closer to Taiwan under the Trump administration.

Senator Cory Gardner and Senator Marco Rubio took their opportunity speaking before the Senate in a session reviewing the 2019 NDAA bill to mention Taiwan, and to share their enthusiasm for the improving relationship between Taiwan and the United States of America.

In March, after Trump approved new rules allowing top USA officials to travel to the island, Beijing called on Washington to "correct its mistake".

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.

While Taiwan's relationship with the USA is essential to its security, it must also guard against provoking China, its biggest military threat but also the dominant market for the island's export-driven economy.

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