China complains of new de facto US embassy

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The new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) is seen under construction in Taipei, Taiwan June 2, 2018 REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Foreign Ministry yesterday lodged stern representations with the United States about the unveiling of the new de facto US embassy in self-ruled Taiwan.

Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the comments at a daily news briefing protesting the US unveiling of a new $256 million representative office in Taiwan’s capital yesterday, a de facto embassy that underscores Washington’s strategic ties with the democratic, self-ruled island as it faces escalating tensions with China.

Washington cut diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979 but remains the island’s strongest ally and sole foreign arms supplier. It opened the American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) to conduct relations between the two sides after severing ties.

In comments certain to rile Beijing, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said the new complex was a reaffirmation of both sides commitment to a “vital relationship”.

“The friendship between Taiwan and the US has never been more promising. 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.

So long as both sides stood together, nothing could come between them, she said.

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