United States unveils new ‘embassy’ in Taiwan amid strained China ties

President Tsai Ing-wen and Gregg Harper

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has been aiming to take advantage of the dedication and the visit by senior U.S. officials to push for further liberalization of arms sales, technological transfers, as well as possible port calls by USA warships.

However, according to the Reuters, Bolton, after traveling to Canada with U.S. President for the G7 Summit, arrived last Sunday in Singapore, where President Trump will hold a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday.

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.

A smiling Tsai said the new building was a symbol of "more promising" relations between Washington and Taipei.

Meanwhile, Marie Royce, assistant secretary of educational and cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, is now in Taiwan to participate in the dedication ceremony, scheduled for June 12, for the AIT's new office complex in Taipei's Neihu District. "It's a state-of-the-art facility that will make possible even greater cooperation for many years to come".

The ceremony comes at a time when bilateral relations between Beijing and Washington have been severely tested over the ongoing trade negotiation and rising tensions in the disputed South China Sea.

There have also been expressions of support for Taipei from United States officials and lawmakers in the face of growing pressure from Beijing, which has lured away Taiwan's allies and blocked the island's participation in worldwide events. "Taiwan authorities on the many partnerships and exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan".

China has also stepped up military drills, sending bombers and jet fighters on exercises near the island that Taipei has denounced as intimidation. "We must draw a red line for the USA and Taiwan", Global Times said through the editorial. "Once crossed, a serious Taiwan Straits crisis will be triggered".

Taiwanese politicians, however, hope that more senior US officials such as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or national security adviser John Bolton may visit the island this autumn. "High-level visits can be arranged at any time, not just when AIT inaugurates a new building", Templeman told the Guardian. "Any US administration would have made a similar set of statements at the official opening".

Trump decided not to send cabinet-level officials to the opening ceremony to avoid further antagonising Beijing amid other tensions over trade and China's claims to much of the South China Sea, sources with ties to the U.S. and Chinese governments told the South China Morning Post earlier this month.

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