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US unveils 'milestone' new de facto embassy in Taiwan

AFP  |  Taipei 

The today unveiled a new USD 255 million in in what was hailed as a "milestone" in relations, as the self-ruled island comes under increasing pressure from

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

In March, after Trump approved new rules allowing top US officials to travel to the island, called on to "correct its mistake".

But the US sent an for the unveiling, a visit less likely to unnerve which was concerned that higher-level officials may attend.

The US switched diplomatic recognition to in 1979 but maintains close economic, political and security ties with It manages its relations through the in Taiwan (AIT).

Marie Royce, for educational and cultural affairs, attended the dedication ceremony with Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen.

"AIT's new home is both a tangible symbol that reflects the strength of our ties and a state-of-the-art facility that will make possible even greater cooperation for years to come," said Royce, the wife of pro-Taiwan and House foreign affairs committee

AIT called the new complex a "milestone" in the US-Taiwan relationship and a "testament to the strong US commitment to Taiwan".

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

China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since 1949 but views the island as a renegade province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

It bars Taiwan from membership in the and many other international organisations and has been luring away the island's remaining diplomatic allies.

Since Tsai came to power two years ago, has cut contact with her government because refuses to acknowledge that Taiwan is part of "one China".

Beijing officials have described intensified Chinese military drills near the island as a warning against any moves to assert its sovereignty.

While Taiwan's relationship with the US is essential to its security, it must also against provoking China, its biggest military threat but also the dominant market for the island's export-driven economy.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, June 12 2018. 13:35 IST