The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which serves as the de facto US embassy to the self-governing island, confirmed Wednesday its plans to position US Marines at its new facility ‒ something it also admitted it’s done since 2005, despite Beijing clearly stating it regards such a move as hostile.
When news first broke last summer that the US was weighing the use of US Marines as guards at the new AIT building, as it uses them for security at other, more formal embassies, the People’s Republic of China let Washington know in no uncertain terms exactly what it thought of the move.
“Severe subversion,” a July 2018 op-ed in the Chinese Communist Party-owned Global Times termed the move, saying it might amount to “even an invasion of the US military on Chinese soil.”
Beijing is so sensitive to the question of US relations with Taiwan because it regards the self-governing island as part of its territory. In 1949, the Communist Red Army, led by Mao Zedong, was victorious in the 20-year-long civil war and conquered all of mainland China, establishing the People’s Republic centered in Beijing. However, the old Republic of China wasn’t totally destroyed — it retained control over the island of Taiwan, which the PLA couldn’t easily invade. Since then, both Taipei and Beijing have claimed to be the single legitimate representative of China on the world stage, calling the other an impostor government.
For 20 years, the United States, and many…