American Institute in Taiwan

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Coordinates: 25°1′56.81″N 121°32′22.41″E / 25.0324472°N 121.5395583°E / 25.0324472; 121.5395583

American Institute in Taiwan
U.S. Government-Sponsored Non-profit Organization
(with de facto embassy functions)
Founded Washington, D.C. (January 16, 1979 (1979-01-16))
Founder Harvey J. Feldman (US diplomat)[1]
Headquarters Rosslyn, Virginia
Key people
James F. Moriarty (Chairman, Washington HQ)
Brent Christensen (Director, Taipei Office)
Old main office of AIT on Xinyi Road in Taipei, Taiwan.
Construction site of AIT's new compound in Neihu, Taipei. 25.080295 N, 121.599365 E

The American Institute in Taiwan[2] (AIT; Chinese: 美國在台協會; pinyin: Měiguó Zài Tái Xiéhuì) is a government-linked non-profit organization established under the auspices of the United States government to serve its interests in Taiwan. Primarily staffed by employees of the United States Department of State and local workers, AIT is a de facto embassy providing services normally provided by a United States diplomatic mission. The establishment of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1979 required acknowledgment of the One-China policy and termination of diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (ROC). The AIT now serves to assist and protect US interests in Taiwan in a quasi-official manner,[3] and also processes visas and provides consular services to American expatriates. Following the swift passage of the 2018 Taiwan Travel Act by the United States, it now serves as a high-level representative bureau on behalf of United States in Taiwan.[4]


AIT is a non-profit corporation incorporated in the District of Columbia on 16 January 1979[5] after the US established full diplomatic relations with the PRC on January 1, 1979. Following the authorization of the Taiwan Relations Act, the Department of State, through a semi-official contract with AIT, provides guidance and some funding in its operations. Like other U.S. missions abroad, AIT is staffed by employees of the Department of State and other agencies of the United States, as well as by locally hired staff. Prior to a 2002 amendment to the Foreign Service Act (Section 503 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended by the Department of State Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003), United States government employees were required to resign from government service for their period of assignment to AIT. According to Section 12 (a) of the Taiwan Relations Act, agreements conducted by AIT have to be reported to Congress, just as other international agreements concluded by United States and governments with which it has diplomatic relations. Thus, while relations between the US and Taiwan through AIT are conducted on an informal basis, the US government still treats the relationship within the same confines as with other states with formal diplomatic relations.[6]

AIT has a small headquarters office in Arlington County, Virginia with its largest office located in Taipei, Taiwan. The organization also has a small branch office in Taiwan's southern port city of Kaohsiung.[7] These three offices are referred to as AIT/Washington (AIT/W), AIT/Taipei (AIT/T) and AIT/Kaohsiung (AIT/K), respectively.[8]

The location of AIT/Taipei in Da'an District was the former site of U.S. Military Advisory Group headquarters before 1979. The new AIT office complex at No. 100 Jin Hu Road, Neihu District, Taipei, was scheduled to be completed in 2015.

For the purposes of remuneration and benefits, directors of AIT hold the same rank as ambassador and, in Taiwan, are accorded diplomatic privileges in their capacity as directors.

Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office similarly represents the Republic of China in the United States.

From 1953 to 1979, the United States Ambassador to China was based in Taipei.

A new $250 million compound for the American Institute in Taiwan was unveiled in June 2018, accompanied by a "low-key" American delegation[9] and several mid-level diplomats.[10] The State Department has reportedly requested a detachment of Marine Security Guard to guard the AIT.[11]

List of Directors

List of Deputy Directors

List of Commercial Officers

  • William D. McClure 1981 – 1986
  • Raymond Sander 1987 – 1997
  • William Brekke 1997 – 2000
  • Terry Cooke 2000 – 2003
  • Gregory Loose 2003 – 2006
  • Gregory Wong 2006 – 2010
  • Helen Hwang 2010–
  • Scott Pozil 2011 – 2013
  • Amy Chang 2010 – 2013
  • Steve Green (Kaohsiung) 2009 – 2011
  • Gregory Harris (Kaohsiung) 2011–

See AIT Commercial Section

List of Chairmen

See also


  1. ^ "THE TAIWAN RELATIONS ACT -- PAST, AND PERHAPS FUTURE by Harvey J. Feldman". Archived from the original on 2010-01-15. Retrieved 2010-01-27.
  2. ^ The AIT's official name is "The American Institute in Taiwan" (including the word "The" - See the Register of Corporations, Washington DC records)
  3. ^ Beech, Keyes; Times, Los Angeles (1980-09-04). "For U.S. Quasi-Embassy in Taiwan, Silence is Golden". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  4. ^ Steve, Chabot, (2018-03-16). "Text - H.R.535 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Taiwan Travel Act". Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  5. ^ District of Columbia Register of Corporations
  6. ^ New US diplomatic immunity pact a breakthrough: MOFA, The China Post, February 6, 2013
  7. ^
  8. ^ AIT - Introduction to the American Institute in Taiwan
  9. ^ Horton, Chris (June 12, 2018). "U.S. Unveils an Office in Taiwan, but Sends No Top Officials". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Sputnik. "China Snub: Trump Sends Junior Diplomat to Open De Facto US Embassy In Taiwan". Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  11. ^ Johnson, Jesse (July 18, 2018). "China to begin large-scale military exercise 'tailored for Taiwan separatists' in East China Sea". The Japan Times. The U.S. State Department has reportedly requested the deployment of a detachment of marines to help safeguard new facilities at the American Institute in Taiwan, Washington’s de facto consulate in lieu of formal diplomatic ties, in Taipei.
  12. ^

External links

  • Media related to American Institute in Taiwan at Wikimedia Commons
  • Official website
  • Official website (in Chinese)
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