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US shows new de facto embassy in Taiwan amid China tensions

June 13, 2018 00:00:00

Journalists tour the new office complex of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) during a dedication ceremony in Taipei on Tuesday — AFP

TAIPEI, June 12 (Agencies): The United States (US) unveiled a new $256 million representative office in Taiwan's capital on Tuesday.

A de facto embassy that was underscored Washington's strategic ties with the democratic, self-ruled island as it faces escalating tensions with China.

Donald Trump's administration is moving to strengthen ties with Taiwan in the face of China's diplomatic moves and military threats.

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.

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