US State Dept official to visit Taiwan for de facto embassy unveiling

US State Dept official to visit Taiwan for de facto embassy unveiling

America's de facto embassy in Taiwan has reopened after a $250m renovation, with an attending USA official hailing the new building as "a symbol of strength and vibrancy" of the relationship between the USA and Taiwan.

In order to establish diplomatic relations with China, Washington was required to acknowledge Beijing's One China policy, which does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state.

China has been ramping up pressure on Taiwan since the election in 2016, blocking the self-ruled island from participating in worldwide organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and poaching its diplomatic allies.

Among other officials attending the ceremony was Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, whose independence-leaning administration Beijing has sought to isolate diplomatically and threatens with invasion.

The recently completed American Institute in Taiwan office in a suburb of the capital Taipei will house US representatives and serves American interests in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.

Royce is the most senior State Department official to visit Taiwan since 2015.

Marie Royce, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, attended the dedication ceremony with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen. Geng Shuang, spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, said Tuesday that Beijing has lodged a protest with the US over the ceremony.

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

However, Templeman suggested the ceremony should not be interpreted as revealing the Trump administration's Taiwan policy in general. It's an issue that's come to the fore as China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory - to be united with the mainland by force if necessary - has accelerated efforts to convince the few countries that still have diplomatic ties with Taiwan to end them.

The US government's US$255 million investment in the new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) compound is a symbol of its commitment to Taiwan, US Representative Gregg Harper, who co-chairs the US Congressional Taiwan Caucus, said yesterday.

The AIT will move into its new complex later this year.

The widely read Chinese state-run newspaper the Global Times on Tuesday said China needed to warn Taiwan and the USA against provocation. China also has recently pointedly conducted several military drills in the Taiwan strait and around the island.

"The mainland must continue to build up its deterrence against Taiwanese authorities, making them know that the U.S. can not be their savior", it said in an editorial on the opening of the new office.

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