U.S. unveils de facto embassy in Taiwan amid China tensions
U.S. unveils de facto embassy in Taiwan amid China tensions
President Tsai Ing-wen and Gregg Harper
12 June, 2018, 15:35
"The opening tomorrow of the new AIT headquarters shows how important our relationship is to the USA", the Republican lawmaker from MS said.
AIT chairman James Moriarty called the new complex a "milestone" in the US-Taiwan relationship and a "testament to the strong US commitment to Taiwan".
The site spreads over 6.5 hectares, including Chinese gardens, in Taipei's Neihu district.
"AIT's new home is a tangible symbol that reflects the strength of our ties", said Royce.
Royce is the wife of a long-time Taiwan advocate and House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Ed Royce.
A smiling Tsai said the new building was a symbol of "more promising" relations between Washington and Taipei.
"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". AIT's Taipei office has almost 500 American and local employees, while its Kaohsiung branch has more than 30 staff.
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Since Tsai came to power two years ago, Beijing has cut contact with her government because Taipei refuses to acknowledge that Taiwan is part of "one China". Beijing suspects Tsai wants to push for formal independence, which would cross a red line for Communist Party leaders in Beijing.
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.
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.
China has also stepped up military drills, sending bombers and jet fighters on exercises near the island that Taipei has denounced as intimidation.
Trump decided not to send cabinet-level officials to the opening ceremony to avoid further antagonising Beijing amid other tensions over trade and China's claims to much of the South China Sea, sources with ties to the United States and Chinese governments told the South China Morning Post earlier this month.
Taiwan has lobbied Washington to sell it more advanced equipment, including new fighter jets, to bolster its defenses.
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