Thursday, 19 July, 2018

USA unveils 'milestone' new de facto embassy in Taiwan

USA unveils 'milestone' new de facto embassy in Taiwan USA unveils 'milestone' new de facto embassy in Taiwan
Patty Aguilar | 12 June, 2018, 22:35

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Marie Royce were among the dignitaries on hand for Tuesday's unveiling ceremony for the new $256 million American Institute in Taipei, which serves U.S. interests in the absence of formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

A dedication ceremony for the US$250 million four-storey office compound was attended on Tuesday morning by senior officials from Taiwan and the U.S., including the island's President Tsai Ing-wen.

Commenting on US-Taiwan relations, Harper said that as the caucus co-chair, he would assure people in Taiwan that "in Washington DC, our commitment is as strong or stronger than ever, and will continue that way in the future".

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen tours the new AIT complex with AIT director Kin Moy.

Speaking of Royce, Moy said the assistant secretary was a "perfect candidate" for the dedication ceremony as she "reflects about 40 years of educational and cultural cooperation" between Taiwan and the U.S.

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".

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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.

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

Following the beginning performances, including a passionate percussion show and the solemn singing of America's national anthem, the officials on the main stage, one after another, gave their remarks that were heavily centered around promoting the relationship between Taiwan and the U.S.

The White House is cautious about its Taiwan policy in the lead-up to the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on Tuesday, the same day of the dedication of AIT's new office.

"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".

China has also stepped up military exercises and air patrols close to Taiwan. "High-level visits can be arranged at any time, not just when AIT inaugurates a new building", Templeman told the Guardian. The organization, which was first established in 1979 after the diplomatic shift, plans to officially relocate to the new facility this fall.

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