Thursday, 16 August, 2018

U.S. opens de facto embassy in Taiwan as China trade tensions escalate

China Sets ‘Red Line’ for U.S. Ceremony in Taiwan China Snub: Trump Sends Junior Diplomat to Open De Facto US Embassy In Taiwan
Kenny Thornton | 12 June, 2018, 22:35

The US has dedicated a new representative office in Taiwan in what officials described as a sign of robust ties with the self-governing island democracy that China claims as its own territory. 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.

"The friendship between Taiwan and the US has never been more promising", Tsai said.

Washington gave up official diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979 to recognise Beijing, but it remains the island's most powerful ally and top arms supplier.

A career member of the US Foreign Service, Christensen also served at the US embassy in Beijing and was last posted in Taiwan during former president Ma Ying-jeou's second term and maintained cordial relations with Taiwan's major parties.

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

"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 US-funded American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) unveiled its new headquarters in Taiwan's capital on Tuesday, amid growing tension between the US and China over the fate of the disputed island.

Trudeau’s criticism will cost Canada ‘a lot of money’
The fight also seriously raises the likelihood that the current round of tariffs could escalate into a full-blown trade war . Also on Monday, former Trump aide and a former Breitbart editor Sebastian Gorka criticized Trudeau, calling him "childish".

"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 during a daily news briefing.

"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", AIT Director Kin W. Moy, the USA ambassador in all but name, said at the dedication ceremony.

Since Tsai came to power two years ago, Beijing has cut contact with her government because Taipei refuses to acknowledge that Taiwan is part of "one China". "High-level visits can be arranged at any time, not just when AIT inaugurates a new building", Templeman told the Guardian.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said the new building was a reaffirmation of commitment to a "vital relationship" between the USA and Taiwan.

But the AIT said in a statement Sunday that Marie Royce, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, will visit Taiwan June 10-14 and attend the ceremony.

The widely read Chinese state-run newspaper the Global Times on Tuesday said China needed to warn Taiwan and the U.S. against provocation. The United States opened AIT shortly after terminating formal ties with Taipei - a diplomatic workaround that has irked Beijing.

Yet the USA and Taiwan have maintained a robust informal relationship.

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