U.S. Angers China by Opening De Facto Embassy in Taiwan

Taiwan's American Institute

Taiwan's American Institute

The US Assistant Secretary of State on Cultural Affairs, Marie Royce, will visit Taiwan's capital Taipei to attend a ceremony opening a new building housing the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), widely acknowledged as the de facto American embassy to Taiwan.

"We should all be proud of this milestone, which is a symbol of the close cooperation and enduring friendship between the United States and Taiwan", Moy said at the dedication ceremony.

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

Taiwan papers have also reported that former AIT deputy director Brent Christensen would be promoted to lead Washington's diplomatic mission on the island.

In Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry said they had lodged "stern representations" with Washington about the new building and the visit of the senior US diplomat.

Royce is the highest level official of the U.S. Department of State to visit Taiwan since 2015.

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The "one China" principle refers to the Chinese government's view that there's one China and Taiwan is a part of it.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said the new complex was a confirmation of both the U.S. and Taiwan's commitment to a "vital relationship". "Taiwan authorities on the many partnerships and exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan".

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

The AIT building, spread over 6.5 hectares (16 acres) of land, costs around $250 million and will employ more than 500 people and would be protected by US Marines.

The American Institute in Taiwan, as the de facto U.S. embassy in Taipei is called, was officially declared open Tuesday morning, in a ceremony attended by senior USA diplomats and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.

"I offer you this", he said, "a tangible symbol that the United States is here to stay".

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In a move that has incited anger from China, the USA government on Tuesday reopened what's considered the American embassy in Taiwan following a $255 million renovation. Beijing suspects Tsai wants to push for formal independence, which would cross a red line for Communist Party leaders in Beijing.

"This day was years in the making so we can credit Bush, Obama, and Trump for following through on the facility", said Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the U.S. -Taiwan Business Council.

These included live-fire drills, sailing China's only aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait, and dispatching its fighters and bombers for "encirclement patrols".

China's hostility towards Taiwan has grown since President Tsai Ing-wen was elected in 2016.

Despite condemnations from China, the U.S. continues to sell advanced weapons to the island under the Taiwan Relations Act for its self-defense against a much bigger Chinese military. Trump, meanwhile has appointed several proponents of better US-Taiwan relations since taking power.

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