The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) yesterday would not confirm a report that the US Department of State has requested that US Marines be posted at the AIT’s new complex in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖).
“As is the practice at our current location, a small number of American personnel detailed to AIT along with a larger number of locally-hired employees will provide security for the new office building in cooperation with the local authorities,” an AIT official said in a text message to the Central News Agency, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A CNN report on Friday cited two unnamed US officials as saying that a request for a US Marine Corps security detachment was received several weeks ago, but has not been formally approved.
Coordination about its deployment is ongoing between the state department’s Diplomatic Security Service and the marines, the sources were cited as saying.
When asked about the matter at a news conference the same day, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang (陸慷) said that Beijing’s “one China” principle is the political foundation of China-US relations, and that Washington should abide by its “one China” pledge and refrain from developing any official ties or engaging in military exchanges with Taiwan.
The AIT office is expected to officially relocate from Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義) to the new facility in fall.
Posting marines at the new AIT compound in Taipei would signal warmer relations between the US and Taiwan.
Such a move by the US would carry “more political than military significance,” said Lin Ying-yu (林穎佑), an assistant professor at National Chung Cheng University’s Institute of Strategic and International Affairs.
Marines are usually posted only at official US facilities overseas, Lin said, adding that a detachment at the new AIT complex could be seen as a show of the importance attached by the US to Taiwan and a political signal to China.
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