The US is to station Marine security guards at the American Institute in Taiwan’s (AIT) new complex in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖), which is to begin operations in September, sources familiar with the matter said.
The mission of Marine security guards is different from that of other US Marines, whose primary mission is combat, the sources said.
According to internal US mechanisms, before sending the guards overseas, the US assesses the safety conditions of the country and of the embassy facilities, and uses this information to determine how many guards to send, they said.
Rather than an increase in security standards, the stationing of the guards at the AIT could be considered a representation of how much the US values its relationship with Taiwan, they said.
In response to media speculation that US Marines would be stationed at the complex, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said that the AIT’s internal security arrangements are its own affair and that the Presidential Office has no comment.
Based on reciprocity, the military hopes to resume stationing military police at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US and at its Twin Oaks residence in Washington to show that military cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and the US have entered a new stage, an unnamed senior government official said yesterday.
Military police were still stationed at the office and at Twin Oaks following the severing of diplomatic ties between the Republic of China and the US in 1979, sources said.
However, due to efforts by the Ministry of National Defense to streamline its organization, the number of officers stationed at the locations was reduced to five, the sources said.
In 2004, the five military police officers were withdrawn and since then, Taiwan has hired local security personnel to guard the two locations, they said.
Earlier this year, former AIT director Stephen Young said that a “marine house” would be established inside the new complex in Taipei and that this was something he fought for during his tenure.
The marine house is often the center of diplomatic activities, and the new complex represents the US’ commitment to Taiwan, Young said at the time.
Asked in May about rumors that US Marines would be stationed at the complex, then-AIT director Kin Moy, who left office this month, said that the security plans for the complex remained unchanged.
Citing two US officials, CNN last month reported that the US Department of State had requested that US Marines be sent to Taiwan to guard the compound.
“One US official said that while the request for Marine security guards 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 at the time.
Additional reporting by Lo Tien-pin
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
FRUIT SPAT: The COA said China had not given evidence for halting wax and custard apple imports, adding that it would spend NT$1bn on promoting sales of the fruit Taipei threatened to take China to the WTO yesterday after Beijing said it would suspend wax apple and custard apple imports from Taiwan due to pest concerns. China’s customs administration earlier yesterday said it had repeatedly found pests called Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all affiliated offices to stop clearing the products from today. China had acted unilaterally, without providing scientific evidence, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference, criticizing the announcement’s timing, as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the