US Opens New De-Facto Embassy in Taiwan, Angering China

US Opens New De-Facto Embassy in Taiwan, Angering China

TAIPEI-Tuesday is a big day for China, thanks to the Trump administration-and not only because the US president plans to meet with the leader of North Korea.

The U.S. unveiled a new representative office in Taipei Tuesday, establishing a de facto embassy in the self-ruled island amid its escalating tensions with China. Moy will then step down next week with no successor named to replace him, adding to the 47 other USA diplomatic missions around the world that now don't have ambassadors.

Washington also agreed to help Taipei build its own submarines, a move which Chinese media said made war "more probable" between China and Taiwan.

As SCMP reported earlier - citing unnamed USA officials - the U.S. is mulling sending warships, including carrier forces, through the Taiwan Strait.

The American Institute in Taiwan has functioned as Washington's de facto embassy in democratic self-ruled island Taiwan since 1979. The policy dictates that the US formally recognize only one Chinese government - the Communist apparatus based in Beijing - and officially eschew relations with a Taiwanese government, which has proclaimed itself the "Republic of China".

"The opening tomorrow of the new AIT headquarters shows how important our relationship is to the USA", the Republican lawmaker from MS said.

"I think Taiwan-U.S. relations have improved in appearance, not in substance", said Chen I-hsin, an emeritus professor of diplomacy in Taiwan.

The new base for the American Institute in Taiwan is said to be the strongest and most secure structure ever built on the island, made with blast-proof materials over almost 10 years.

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.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has been aiming to take advantage of the dedication and the visit by senior USA officials to push for further liberalization of arms sales, technological transfers, as well as possible port calls by U.S. warships.

The US delegation to today's ceremony also includes US Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce, who is making her first trip to Taiwan in that capacity, although she has visited before with her husband, US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce.

China has also stepped up military exercises and air patrols close to Taiwan. The box will be sealed and buried somewhere in the new complex, according to the AIT.

Meanwhile, the Beijing-based Global Times noted on the weekend that China had to be prepared for a crisis in the Taiwan Strait, following the conclusion of the island's annual anti-Chinese invasion drill, as well as a Reuters report that Washington could be considering sending a US Navy vessel through the strait.

Taiwan governs itself democratically, but China considers the island nation an integral part of its territory, and relations remain strained.

The opening of the new facility angered Beijing.

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