Fri, Jun 08, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Foreign ministry downplays AIT ceremony rumor

By Lu Yi-hsuan  /  Staff reporter

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee is pictured during an interview on Jan. 30.

Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not received information on a possible visit by Donald Trump Jr, but it “sincerely welcomes” any US official or member of the US Congress that would show the importance Washington places on Taiwan-US relations and the unveiling of the new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) compound, ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said yesterday.

Trump Jr is US President Donald Trump’s eldest son and serves as executive director of the trust that has owned the Trump Organization since his father took office.

Citing an unnamed source, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post on Tuesday reported that Trump Jr is among the candidates to represent the US at the Tuesday dedication ceremony, as he does not hold public office, but is a person of significance.

Washington would not send Cabinet-level officials to the event out of concern that such a move would provoke China, which could result in Beijing’s expulsion of the US ambassador to China, the report said.

Media have speculated about how Washington would mark the facility’s unveiling, which is widely perceived as a milestone in Taiwan-US relations.

It has been rumored that Washington would send US national security adviser John Bolton, who has long held pro-Taiwan views.

However, as the unveiling coincides with the highly anticipated summit in Singapore between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, some have predicted that the US would not send any high-ranking officials.

Citing a foreign affairs official in Washington, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Liberty Times (sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) on Wednesday reported that the US might send an assistant secretary of state to attend the ceremony, with US Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce being the likely representative.

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