The US Department of State has requested that US Marines be sent to Taiwan to guard the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), according to a CNN report published online yesterday, citing two US officials.
“One US official said that while the request for a Marine security guard was received several weeks ago, it has not yet been formally approved and coordination about its deployment is ongoing between the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and the Marines,” CNN reported.
“If the request is granted, it will be the first time in nearly 40 years that US Marines will be guarding a diplomatic post in Taiwan,” CNN said, adding that a department spokesperson would not say whether the request has been made.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
Marines are posted at US overseas missions around the world to protect the diplomatic facilities and personnel stationed there. A “marine house” is usually built to accommodate them.
Since Taipei and Washington severed diplomatic ties in 1979, no marines stationed at the AIT office, because the US maintains only unofficial ties with Taiwan.
Earlier this month, on the sidelines of the dedication of the AIT’s new office compound in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖), AIT Director Kin Moy shrugged off media queries about whether the compound would be guarded by marines.
“We do not make political statements with our security. What we do is we bring a sufficient number of people to coordinate with local staff to ensure that the people inside our buildings are very safe,” he said at the time.
At a conference held by Washington-based think tank Global Taiwan Institute in February last year, former AIT director Stephen Young said that the US would post marines at the new AIT compound.
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