08:18 GMT18 January 2021
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    The two nations do not have official diplomatic relations, and use facilities disguised as something else to conduct diplomatic contacts unofficially.

    The Coordination Council for North American Affairs (CCNAA), the de-facto embassy of Taiwan in the US, changed its name Saturday, now becoming known as the Taiwan Council for US Affairs (TCUSA).

    "Times, they are a-changing'! […] the Coordination Council for North American Affairs, will be replaced by the Taiwan Council for US Affairs," The Foreign Minister of Taiwan Joseph Wu wrote on Twitter. "Really got to love the new name!"

    ​According to an AP report, adding the word "Taiwan" drops the pretence that the Council is non-diplomatic or political in nature, and therefore this seemingly minor change is "likely to be seen as highly significant".

    The Council serves as a de-facto embassy of the runaway island, which China considers a part of its own territory, in the US. Back in 1979, Washington cut diplomatic ties with Taipei in favour of Beijing but continued to maintain close unofficial relations, which have grown even closer in recent years.

    The US is represented in Taiwan by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which also serves as a de facto embassy. The Institute recently moved into a much larger building in Taipei, built specifically to house the disguised US mission.

    The People's Republic of China considers Taiwan part of its own territory and strictly opposes any diplomatic or military contact between the US and Taiwan. Earlier this year, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said Beijing would not rule out the use of force to get the runaway island back.

    The US occasionally sends warships to the Taiwan Strait, located between the island and China, sparking fierce reaction from Beijing. Washington also conducts military trade with Taipei, including recent negotiations on selling tanks and fighter jets, according to AP.


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