U.S. unveils new de facto embassy in Taiwan

President Tsai Ing-wen and Gregg Harper

In turn, Harper thanked Tsai for decorating him, saying that the honor further demonstrates US commitment to bolstering friendship with Taiwan, while the dedication of the new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) compound earlier Tuesday again shows the strong support for Taiwan from the U.S.

The United States on Tuesday opened a new $256-million (€225-million) representative office in Taiwan's capital, in a move that is likely to increase tensions between the U.S. and China.

"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 said.

As the South China Sea standoff is ongoing and remains unsettled, Sino-American relations also remain at odds. Beijing considers Taiwan to be a breakaway Chinese province to eventually be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary. "Taiwan authorities on the many partnerships and exchanges between the United States and Taiwan".

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

Any official exchange between the United States and Taiwan under any excuse is a violation to the one-China principle and the three joint communiques between China and the United States, and an intervention in China's internal affairs, Geng said. In the 1970s, the U.S. State Department acknowledged this view and agreed not to meddle in the dispute.

AIT Director Kin W. Moy - the US ambassador in all but name - Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen and a senior State Department official from Washington, attended Tuesday's ceremony, which Beijing slammed as harmful to U.S. That includes a bill encouraging visits between US and Taiwanese officials at all levels, unanimously passed by Congress and signed into law this year.

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

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The widely read Chinese state-run newspaper the Global Times on Tuesday said China needed to warn Taiwan and the U.S. against provocation.

Yet, as NPR's Rob Schmitz explains, Washington has been creeping steadily closer to Taiwan under the Trump administration.

Cory Gardner, who recently visited Taiwan in late May, spoke first and took the opportunity to congratulate Taiwan on the opening of the new AIT complex in Neihu.

And AIT Director Kin Moy, for one, said Tuesday he eagerly welcomes this "testament to this friendship, to the USA commitment to Taiwan, and to our staying power in Taiwan".

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China has also stepped up military drills, sending bombers and jet fighters on exercises near the island that Taipei has denounced as intimidation.

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