New AIT complex unveiled as symbol of 'strong U.S. commitment to Taiwan'

China Sets ‘Red Line’ for U.S. Ceremony in Taiwan

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.

Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, several Taiwanese government officials as well as legislators were also present.

That's because despite its innocuous name, the organization has long functioned as the de facto U.S. Embassy in Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing considers a renegade Chinese province.

The US delegation to today's ceremony also includes US Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce, who is making her first trip to Taiwan in that capacity, although she has visited before with her husband, US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce.

In March, Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act, which aims to increase travel and visits "at all levels", including state officials and business leaders, both on the U.S. and the Taiwanese side.

Tsai hailed the complex as a new chapter in the "great story of US-Taiwan relations".

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Marie Royce are expected to speak at today's event, the AIT said. Geng Shuang, spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, said Tuesday that Beijing has lodged a protest with the US over the ceremony. "If any U.S. official attends this activity, whatever their excuse may be, it violates the one China principle", AFP quoted Geng as saying.

Apart from keeping to a schedule suggested by fengshui experts hired by the AIT, its employees and staff, led by Moy and his wife, were holding incense and praying for good luck behind a table placed with fruit and flowers as offerings to the gods before the ceremony - a common practice for businesses in Taiwan on special occasions.

"We urge the US to abide by its pledge to China and correct its mistake to avoid harming China-US relations and peace in the Taiwan Strait". "High-level visits can be arranged at any time, not just when AIT inaugurates a new building", Templeman told the Guardian.

Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the Department of State, said in a congratulatory message to the AIT that through the AIT, the USA and Taiwan share values and enjoy close cooperation on a wide range of regional and global issues.

Beijing has also increased the frequency of military exercises in the last few months, including deploying its own aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, in the Taiwan Strait.

The opening of the new facility angered Beijing.

"I offer you this", he said, "a tangible symbol that the United States is here to stay".

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