Wednesday, June 13, 2018

US Unveils De Facto Embassy in Taiwan

US Unveils De Facto Embassy in Taiwan
The United States unveiled a new US$256 million (S$342 million) representative office in Taiwan yesterday, a de facto embassy that underscores Washington's strategic ties with the democratic, self-ruled island as it faces escalating tensions with China.

Washington cut diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979 but remains its strongest ally and sole supplier of foreign arms.

It opened the American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) to conduct relations between the two sides after severing ties, The Straits Times reported.

In comments certain to rile China, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said the new complex was a reaffirmation of both sides commitment to a "vital relationship".

"The friendship between Taiwan and the US has never been more promising. The great story of Taiwan-US relations remains to be filled with the efforts of those that will one day occupy this building," Ms. Tsai said.

So long as both sides stood together, nothing could come between them, she added.

The new complex, a significant upgrade from the low-key military building the AIT had used for decades, will serve as the representative office later this summer, said AIT director Kin Moy.

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