U.S. Opens New De Facto Embassy in Taiwan, Angering China

U.S. Opens New De Facto Embassy in Taiwan, Angering China

The United States has opened a new state-of-the-art facility in Taiwan that serves as Washington's de facto embassy in the self-ruled island that Beijing claims is part of its territory.

China's Foreign Ministry said yesterday it had lodged stern representations with the United States about the unveiling of the new de facto USA embassy in self-ruled Taiwan.

Joining Moy was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce, who called the new office "a symbol of the strength and vibrancy of the U.S. -Taiwan partnership in the 21st century".

The complex's opening marks the strengthening of diplomatic ties between Washington and Taiwan. The non-profit institute is primarily staffed by employees of the U.S. State Department.

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

"The United States sending officials to Taiwan under any excuses is in serious violation of the "one China" principle," Geng Shuang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said Tuesday.

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Meanwhile, the AIT is happily plowing ahead with its big move. It opened the American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) to conduct relations between the two sides after severing ties.

Since 2009, the AIT began constructing a new site in Taipei's burgeoning Neihu District, which spans about 16 acres and is a significant upgrade from the low-key military building that AIT previously used for decades.

In March, after Trump approved new rules allowing top United States officials to travel to the island, Beijing called on Washington to "correct its mistake".

On Monday night, China's state-run tabloid Global Times published an editorial, suggesting Beijing should warn the USA and Taiwan of possible consequences for any provocative move. "The great story of Taiwan-U.S. relations remains to be filled with the efforts of those that will one day occupy this building", Tsai said. Beijing suspects Tsai wants to push for formal independence, which would cross a red line for Communist Party leaders in Beijing. In late 2016, the then-president-elect Trump raised eyebrows in Beijing after holding a brief telephone conversation with Tsai, who had repeatedly called Trump to congratulate him on his presidential victory - the first direct communication between the United States and Taiwanese leaders since 1979.

Taiwan has lobbied Washington to sell it more advanced equipment, including new fighter jets, to bolster its defenses. In March Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act, a non-binding bill that encourages senior officials from both countries to visit one another.

"It's been said before that Taiwan is being used as a bargaining chip, and so far we can not rule that out", Lin said.

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