U.S. unveils de facto embassy in Taiwan amid China tensions

Clay Curtis
June 12, 2018

The completion of the new AIT offices - built over nine years at a cost of $250 million - comes amid closer US-Taiwan ties. To officials in the USA and Taiwan, Tuesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony in Taipei symbolizes the strength of their partnership.

"We urge the United States to scrupulously abide by its promises to China over the Taiwan issue, correct their wrong actions, and avoid damaging China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait", ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing.

While Republicans and Democrats in the US Congress do not always get along, "we recently passed the Taiwan Travel Act unanimously".

On Sunday, Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Statement, also sent her congratulations via twitter and said the new AIT complex is "a milestone that reflects the importance of the U.S. -Taiwan partnership".

The sprawling new site occupies 6.5 hectares, including Chinese gardens, in Taipei's Neihu district.

Royce is the wife of pro-Taiwan congressman and House foreign affairs committee chairman Ed Royce.

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"The opening tomorrow of the new AIT headquarters shows how important our relationship is to the United States", the Republican lawmaker from MS said. AIT's Taipei office has almost 500 American and local employees, while its Kaohsiung branch has more than 30 staff.

A smiling Tsai said the new building was a symbol of "more promising" relations between Washington and Taipei.

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

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".

The new building is a significant upgrade from the low-key military building that AIT has used for decades and will serve as the representative office later this summer, said AIT Director Kin Moy at the opening ceremony.

Earlier speculation suggested that President Donald Trump's national security advisor John Bolton could visit Taiwan for the unveiling of the new AIT complex, a move that will certainly provoke Beijing, which opposes interactions of high-level officials between the USA and Taiwan.

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