USA upsets China with new de facto embassy in Taiwan

Serious violation’ China fumes as US opens new $256 million ‘de facto embassy’ in Taiwan

The same day that President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un held their historic summit in Singapore, several USA politicians and officials attended another, far less heralded ceremony just to the north: It was the dedication of a ritzy new complex for the American Institute in Taiwan, or AIT - and China wasn't happy about it.

America's de facto embassy in Taiwan has reopened after a $250m renovation, with an attending United States official hailing the new building as "a symbol of strength and vibrancy" of the relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan. 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.

Donald Trump's administration is moving to strengthen ties with Taiwan in the face of China's diplomatic moves and military threats.

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.

That's because despite its innocuous name, the organization has long functioned as the de facto U.S. Embassy in Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing considers a renegade Chinese province.

Taiwan, meanwhile, has become increasingly marginalised on the global stage with the loss of diplomatic allies who previously recognised the government of the self-ruled island, but have now switched to Beijing.

Journalists tour the new office complex of the American Institute in Taiwan during a dedication ceremony in Taipei
Journalists tour the new office complex of the American Institute in Taiwan during a dedication ceremony in Taipei

"The opening tomorrow of the new AIT headquarters shows how important our relationship is to the U.S.", the Republican lawmaker from MS said. "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. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China had lodged "stern representations" with Washington.

"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".

Harper and his wife, Sidney, arrived on Sunday to attend today's dedication ceremony of the new office complex in Taipei's Neihu District (內湖).

From left: chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan James Moriarty, US assistant secretary of state for education and culture affairs Marie Royce, Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen, principal deputy director ambassador William Moser and AIT director Kin Moy.

"China and the United States are likely to face a new Taiwan Straits crisis sooner or later". The United States opened AIT shortly after terminating formal ties with Taipei - a diplomatic workaround that has irked Beijing.

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