President honors pro-Taiwan US congressman

Important occasion

Important occasion

TAIPEI-Tuesday is a big day for China, thanks to the Trump administration-and not only because the US president plans to meet with the leader of North Korea.

The United States unveiled a new $256 million representative office in Taiwan's capital on Tuesday, a de facto embassy that underscores Washington's strategic ties with the democratic, self-ruled island as it faces escalating tensions with China.

"AIT's new office complex is a testament to the strong U.S. commitment to Taiwan, the close and cooperative ties between our people and the enduring friendship between the USA and Taiwan", AIT Chairman James Moriarty said in a statement posted on the Institute's website.

The new base for the American Institute in Taiwan is said to be the strongest and most secure structure ever built on the island, made with blast-proof materials over almost 10 years.

For the opening of the new compound, the United States sent Marie Royce, the assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, as its highest attendee. "Taiwan authorities on the many partnerships and exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan".

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

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen attended the ceremony and said that as a free and open democracy, Taiwan has an obligation to work with others to defend shared values and protect joint interests. "The great story of Taiwan-US relations remains to be filled with the efforts of those that will one day occupy this building", Tsai said. In the 1970s, the U.S. State Department acknowledged this view and agreed not to meddle in the dispute.

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(L-R) Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, former President Ma Ying-jeou, chairman of the American Insitute in Taiwan (AIT) James Moriarty, US assistant Secretary of State for Education and Culture Affairs Marie Royce, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, Overseas Buildings Office Principal Deputy Director Ambassador William Moser and AIT Director Kin Moy display their paraphernalia before placing them in a time capsule during the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

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".

Harper has extended his support for several Taiwan-friendly bills during his term in Congress and for promoting Taiwan's worldwide participation, Tsai said, adding that the Taiwan Travel Act that was signed into law March 16 is a testament to the strength of Taiwan-U.S. relations.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Tuesday said it had lodged stern representations with the United States about the new AIT building. In March, he signed the Taiwan Travel Act that encourages high-level visits between the two sides.

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

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.

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