Monday, 18 June, 2018

Taiwan: United States opens de facto embassy in capital Taipei, angers China

Flickr  wei zheng wang Washington Wants to Play'Taiwan Card to Exert Pressure on China- Analysts Flickr wei zheng wang Washington Wants to Play'Taiwan Card to Exert Pressure on China- Analysts
Jeannette Daniel | 14 June, 2018, 16:28

Since the US established diplomatic ties with China almost four decades ago, Washington has acknowledged that claim and cut ties with Taiwan - formally, at least.

The massive $256 million complex, complete with Chinese gardens, occupies 6.5 hectares and will house almost 500 American and local employees.

"The new office complex is a symbol of the strength and vibrancy of the US-Taiwan partnership in the 21st century".

In remarks during the ceremony, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Marie Royce said the new offices are a "tangible symbol" of strong U.S.

Senior officials from the United States and Taiwan, including the island's President Tsai Ing-wen, attended a ceremony held at the American Institute of Taiwan that was built at a cost of $250 million (Rs 1,663 crore), reported South China Morning Post.

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

The West African state of Burkina Faso said it was severing ties with Taiwan last month, following similar moves from the Dominican Republic, Sao Tome and Principe and Panama.

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Since then, Taiwan has evolved into a self-governing democracy, but Beijing considers it part of its own sovereign territory.

The widely read Chinese state-run newspaper the Global Times on Tuesday said China needed to warn Taiwan and the USA against provocation.

The unveiling of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) was attended by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen and Premier William Lai, Efe news reported. The Republic of China, as Taiwan is officially known, is also a major purchaser of American-made military hardware and is among the top 10 USA trade partners with $65.3 billion in total two way trade during 2016. Trump, meanwhile has appointed several proponents of better US-Taiwan relations since taking power.

However, Templeman suggested the ceremony should not be interpreted as revealing the Trump administration's Taiwan policy in general.

Yet, as NPR's Rob Schmitz explains, Washington has been creeping steadily closer to Taiwan under the Trump administration. In March Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act, a non-binding bill that encourages senior officials from both countries to visit one another.

That month, the United States also reassured Taiwan that it would continue to strengthen bilateral trade, commercial, and investment relations, after Beijing threatened to reduce trade with Taiwan amid ongoing U.S. Incumbent AIT director Kin Moy is expected to leave Taipei following the dedication of the new compound.

Beijing officials have described intensified Chinese military drills near the island as a warning against any moves to assert its sovereignty. Beijing has claimed the island as a breakaway Chinese province and has vowed to take it by force, if necessary.

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