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
AIT NOC dedication ceremony - Flickr id 29162044008.jpg
Taipei Main Office of the American Institute in Taiwan, with the flag of the United States flown out front.
FoundedWashington, D.C. (January 16, 1979 (1979-01-16))
FounderHarvey J. Feldman (U.S. diplomat)[1]
TypeU.S. Government-Sponsored Nonprofit Organization
HeadquartersRosslyn, Virginia
Area served
ServicesDe facto embassy functions
James F. Moriarty
Director, Taipei Office
Brent Christensen
SubsidiariesAmerican Institute in Taiwan Kaohsiung Branch Office
Under authorization by the Taiwan Relations Act
American Institute in Taiwan
Traditional Chinese美國在台協會
Simplified Chinese美国在台协会

The American Institute in Taiwan[2] (AIT; Chinese: 美國協會; pinyin: Měiguó Zài Tái Xiéhuì) is the de facto Embassy of the United States of America in Taiwan. The AIT institution is a wholly owned subsidiary of the federal government of the United States in Taiwan with Congressional oversight.[3] The AIT was officially created as a U.S. government-sponsored non-profit organization established under the auspices of the U.S. government to serve its interests in Taiwan. Primarily staffed by employees of the United States Department of State and local workers, the AIT provides consular services normally offered by normal United States diplomatic missions, with the Great Seal of the State Department hung at AIT's main office in Taipei. The establishment of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1979 required acknowledgment of the "one-China policy" and subsequent termination of diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan). The AIT now serves to assist and protect U.S. interests in Taiwan in a quasi-official manner,[4] and also processes US visas and provides consular services to U.S. 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.[5] It receives full protection from the United States Marine Corps as do all US Embassies.[6][7][8]

American Institute in Taiwan Kaohsiung Branch Office is a division of the AIT institution located in southern Taiwan.


AIT is a non-profit corporation incorporated in the District of Columbia on 16 January 1979[9] 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.[10]

AIT has a small headquarters office in Arlington County, Virginia with its largest office located in Taipei, Taiwan. The organization also has a branch office in Taiwan's strategic southern port city of Kaohsiung.[11] These three bureaus are referred to as AIT/Washington (AIT/W), AIT/Taipei (AIT/T) and AIT/Kaohsiung (AIT/K), respectively.[12]

The AIT office complex at No. 100 Jin Hu Road, Neihu District, Taipei, was inaugurated in 2019. AIT/Taipei was previously located in the Daan District on the former site of the U.S. Military Advisory Group headquarters before 1979.

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

Its counterpart in the United States is the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office.

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

New compound in Taipei[edit]

Seal of the United States Department of State shown at the new AIT compound

A new $250 million compound for the American Institute in Taiwan was unveiled in June 2018, accompanied by a "low-key" U.S. delegation[13] and several mid-level diplomats.[citation needed] According to the AIT the new complex represents “the United State’s brick-and-mortar commitment to Taiwan.”[14]

In 2019 director Christensen buried a time capsule at the new AIT complex in Neihu. The time capsule is not to be unearthed for 50 years.[14]

List of directors[edit]

Director Christensen

List of deputy directors[edit]

List of commercial officers[edit]

  • Stanley R. Ifshin 1980 – 1981
  • 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[edit]

James Moriarty and Tsai Ing-wen

See also[edit]


  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. ^ "The Quasi Government - Federation of American Scientists" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-09-27.
  4. ^ Beech, Keyes; Times, Los Angeles (1980-09-04). "For U.S. Quasi-Embassy in Taiwan, Silence is Golden". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on 2018-07-11. Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  5. ^ Steve, Chabot (2018-03-16). "Text - H.R.535 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Taiwan Travel Act". Archived from the original on 2018-07-11. Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  6. ^ "US sending American personnel to guard de facto Taiwan embassy". 2018-08-30. Archived from the original on 2019-07-20. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
  7. ^ "U.S. Confirms active military personnel posted at AIT since 2005". Archived from the original on 2019-07-20. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
  8. ^ "Asia Times | Marines to guard new US compound in Taiwan | Article". Archived from the original on 2019-04-06. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
  9. ^ District of Columbia Register of Corporations[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ New US diplomatic immunity pact a breakthrough: MOFA Archived 2018-07-06 at the Wayback Machine, The China Post, February 6, 2013
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-20. Retrieved 2014-12-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "AIT - Introduction to the American Institute in Taiwan". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  13. ^ Horton, Chris (June 12, 2018). "U.S. Unveils an Office in Taiwan, but Sends No Top Officials". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Tzu-ti, Huang. "AIT director buries time capsule for future successors". Taiwan News. Archived from the original on 20 July 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  15. ^ 總統贈勳並接見美國在台協會理事主席薄瑞光. Office of the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) (in Chinese). 19 May 2008. Retrieved 4 April 2020. 陳總統水扁先生今天上午代表我國政府與人民頒贈美國在台協會理事主席薄瑞光(Raymond F. Burghardt)「大綬卿雲勳章」,以表彰他致力於促進台灣與美國之間友好關係所作的卓越貢獻。
  16. ^ "美國在台協會 浦為廉副處長 結束在華任期" [AIT Deputy Director William Brown ends his tenure in the ROC]. United Daily News. 1979-09-04. p. 02.
  17. ^ "Foreign Affairs Oral History Project: JOHN J. TKACIK, JR" (PDF). The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST). 2001-03-23. p. 52. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-04-28.
  18. ^ "Foreign Affairs Oral History Project: WILLIAM W. THOMAS, JR". The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST). 1994-05-31. p. 46. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-04-28.
  19. ^ David Kirkpatrick Este Bruce (2001). Window on the Forbidden City: The Beijing Diaries of David Bruce, 1973-1974. Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong. p. 549. ISBN 978-9628269341.
  20. ^ "AIT Announces New Deputy Director". West & East, an independent monthly. Sino-American Cultural and Economic Association. 31: 15. 1986. Archived from the original on 2019-04-11.
  21. ^ "BIOGRAPHY James A. Larocco: Ambassador to the State of Kuwait". U.S. Department of State. 1997. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12.
  22. ^ "BIOGRAPHY Christopher J. LaFleur: Ambassador, Malaysia". U.S. Department of State. 2005-01-04. Archived from the original on 2019-04-11.
  23. ^ "New Dean brings wealth of experience from Asia-Pacific". Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. 2010-09-02. Archived from the original on 2019-04-24.
  24. ^ "New AIT Deputy Director Takes Office". American Institute in Taiwan. 1998-08-19. Archived from the original on 2019-04-10.
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-06-24. Retrieved 2018-06-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]