The American Institute in Taiwan’s new compound in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖), which will bring all of its divisions under one roof for the first time since the institute was established in 1979, is expected to become operational in September, AIT Director Kin Moy said yesterday.
During an interview with International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Moy reiterated that although the dedication ceremony for the complex is scheduled for Tuesday next week, the actual move would take place later.
“We are looking at, I am projecting here a little bit, the beginning of September when we will actually move,” Moy said, adding that it was likely to fall right around the US’ Labor Day, the first Monday in September.
Photo: screen grab from ICRT’s video stream
The AIT’s central role is helping and protecting the interests of US citizens in Taiwan, which sees about 79,000 US citizens visiting or living here on any given day, through services including issuing passports and helping US voters register, Moy said.
It also offers assistance to Taiwanese who are interested in studying in the US, Moy said.
The AIT handles 10,000 passport applications by US citizens, 34,000 non-immigrant visas, and 2,000 immigrant and student visas annually.
The AIT’s new compound is a five-floor building that has a “distinctive” design and is much bigger than its current premises, which is one of the reasons why it decided to move in the first place, Moy said.
When he gave President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) a preview tour a few weeks ago, one of her comments was that “it [the architecture] is very American,” Moy said.
“[I guess] it just gives you that American feel, a kind of relaxed feel, or feelings where people are welcomed, people are humorous and people are just having a good time,” Moy said jokingly.
Meanwhile, AIT spokeswoman Sonia Urbom dismissed a Reuters article that cited anonymous US officials as saying that the institute would also commemorate the compound’s unveiling in September.
Reuters said that as the dedication ceremony coincides with a summit in Singapore between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, it was unlikely that Washington would send top officials to the Taipei event.
The ceremony is to be the first major public event related to Taiwan-US relations since the March 16 enactment of the US’ Taiwan Travel Act, which encourages high-level visits by US and Taiwanese officials.
“There are no plans to commemorate AIT’s new office complex aside from the dedication ceremony on June 12,” Urbom said.
When asked for comments on the AIT’s new facility, a US Department of State spokesperson on Monday said in an e-mail that the compound reflects the “enduring friendship” between Washington and Taipei.
“The new AIT office complex is a demonstration of the United States’ strong commitment to and enduring friendship with Taiwan,” the spokesperson said. “Through AIT, the United States and Taiwan share values and enjoy close cooperation on a wide range of regional and global issues.”
No list of US guests to attend the ceremony has been drawn up yet as preparations are ongoing, the spokesperson said.
Additional reporting by CNA
Passengers on domestic flights would not be allowed to board if their temperature is more than 37.5°C or if they refuse to have their temperatures taken, Uni Air (立榮航空) and Mandarin Airlines (華信航空) said yesterday. The two airlines made the announcement after their parent companies — EVA Airways (長榮航空) and China Airlines (CAL, 中華航空) respectively — announced similar pre-boarding requirements on Saturday, along with a requirement that passengers wear masks during their flights, except when they have meals or drinks. Uni Air and Mandarin Airlines said domestic passengers would be required to wear masks from the time they start using self-help
CASE COUNT RISES: One of the new domestic cases is a nurse at a long-term care center, but so far tests on all the residents and other staff have been negative Flight transits through all Taiwanese airports would be banned for two weeks, starting tomorrow, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it announced 16 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the nation’s total to 169. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said all flight transits would be banned through April 7. In light of the rapidly increasing number of imported COVID-19 cases, there was a need to further reduce cross-border travel and the risk of disease transmission, the center said. The Civil Aeronautics Administration has informed airlines about the new measures, and anyone who has
A public health expert yesterday warned that too many people are meeting in small groups in coffee shops and restaurants without keeping a proper distance from one another, as he urged the government to loosen the criteria for testing young Taiwanese returning from abroad for COVID-19. People need to keep a social distance of at least 2m, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health dean Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權) said as the college presented its seventh weekly report on COVID-19 at a morning news conference. More than 300,000 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in more than three-quarters of all
TWEET CONFIRMED: The US’ Morgan Ortagus backed up Taiwan, saying China only admitted that human-to-human transmission was possible as late as Jan. 20 Taiwan warned the WHO and China about possible human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus at the end of last year, but the global health body did not make it public, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Department of International Organizations Director-General Bob Chen (陳龍錦) made the remark at a news briefing in Taipei, when asked about statements made by US Department of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus. “Dec. 31— that’s the same day Taiwan first tried to warn WHO of human-human transmission. Chinese authorities meanwhile silenced doctors and refused to admit human-human transmission until Jan. 20, with catastrophic consequences,” Ortagus wrote on