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5 Apr, 2019 04:00

China protests deployment of US soldiers to guard Washington’s ‘embassy’ in Taiwan

China protests deployment of US soldiers to guard Washington’s ‘embassy’ in Taiwan

Beijing has warned the US against stationing service personnel at a de-facto American embassy in Taipei, after the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) admitted to having a detachment of armed US guard on-site for over a decade.

“The US sending military personnel to Taiwan under whatever pretext constitutes a violation of the one-China principle,” a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday, urging the US to correct its “wrongdoing” to avoid “serious damage” to bilateral ties.

While rumors of American Marines being posted in Taipei have circulated for a while, the institute has never acknowledged their presence, until Wednesday.

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“Since 2005, US government personnel detailed to AIT have included active duty military, including service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines,” AIT Spokesperson Amanda Mansour revealed, noting that the military personnel, whose numbers remain undisclosed, are disguised as civilians. Mansour added that US soldiers will also be stationed to secure AIT's new offices when they officially open on May 6.

US President Donald Trump has previously vowed to honor the One China policy, which views Taiwan as an integral part of mainland China, but his actions have left Beijing questioning the sincerity of his pledge. Besides the repeated transits of US warships through the Taiwan Strait, Beijing has also repeatedly expressed concerns over Trump’s military support to Taiwan and deepening US ties with the island via the Taiwan Travel Act.

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