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Washington opens de facto embassy in Taiwan, angering China

12 June 2018

In a ceremony at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) on Tuesday, which took place while the landmark summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore had the world's attention, was attended by a delegation from Washington that included Marie Royce, the US assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs.

The United States on Tuesday opened a new $256-million (€225-million) representative office in Taiwan's capital, in a move that is likely to increase tensions between the U.S. and China. 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.

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 USA and the Taiwanese side.

Washington gave up official diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979 to recognise Beijing, but it remains the island's most powerful ally and top arms supplier.

As free and democratic societies, the United States and Taiwan share the same values, and this would allow them to maintain close relations, Harper said.

The new AIT offices are being unveiled amid heightened concerns in Beijing over increasing USA involvement in Taiwan.

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

Marie Royce, a representative of the US government, said the office complex is a "symbol of the strength and vibrancy of the US-Taiwan partnership in the 21st century".

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

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

The new AIT complex.

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

"We urge the US to honor the commitments it has made to the Chinese side on the Taiwan issue and correct its wrong actions", Geng added Tuesday, "thus avoiding undermining China-US ties and cross-straits peace and stability".

China has also stepped up military exercises and air patrols close to Taiwan.

Reaffirming that the new office complex is "a testament to the strong USA commitment to Taiwan", Moriarty said the us would continue its "abiding commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act" and "support Taiwan's ability to defend itself and to make positive contributions to the worldwide community".

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

Washington opens de facto embassy in Taiwan, angering China