Taiwan to reopen representative office in Guam

723
Flags of the ROC (Taiwan), United States and Guam flown together in Guam in 2017. President Tsai Ing-wen made a transit stop in Guam on Nov. 3, 2017, on her way back to Taiwan after visiting three Pacific island allies. (CNA file photo)

Taiwanese media outlets are reporting that the Republic of China, as Taiwan is officially called, has decided to re-establish its representative office in Guam almost three years after closing it following consultations with the United States.

Quoting the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Focus Taiwan reported that preparations are currently underway for the official opening.

The Taiwan office is euphemistically called a “representative office” and not a consulate or embassy because the United States has no formal diplomatic relations with the country.

However, the U.S. has very close economic, cultural, and political ties with Taiwan. Taiwan is represented by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States and the United States by the American Institute in Taiwan.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Guam was closed in August 2017 due to budget constraints and manpower considerations, with its functions temporarily taken over by Taiwan’s embassy in Palau.

According to Focus Taiwan, the foreign ministry decided to reopen the representative office on Guam due to the growing partnership between Taiwan and the U.S., the strategic importance of the Pacific region to Taiwan and increases in MOFA’s budget since 2018,

“Re-establishing TECO in Guam will facilitate economic and trade cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and the greater Western Pacific region, deepen Taiwan’s relations with its Pacific allies, and increase multilateral exchanges,” Focus Taiwan quoted the MFA as saying.

The reopening of Taiwan’s Guam representative office, set for late August or early September, comes as tension between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China continues to rise. It also comes as Guam readies to reopen its tourism industry and attract visitors from major Asian markets, including Taiwan.

Taiwan currently maintains U.S. offices in Washington D.C., New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Chicago, Honolulu, Denver, and Miami.

TECO in Guam will be the 13th office in U.S. territory.

##