Taipei, Feb. 16 (CNA) The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said Thursday that it would not discuss specific security matters regarding the protection of its facility, in response to remarks by a former AIT director that U.S. marines will be posted at the AIT's new compound in Taipei.
The new compound, located in Taipei's Neihu District, "is a demonstration of our ongoing and continuously deepening commitment to Taiwan," said AIT spokeswoman Sonia Urbom.
"As is the practice at AIT's current location, personnel detailed to AIT will provide security for the office compound, in cooperation with local authorities," she said, but added that the AIT does not "discuss specific security matters" concerning the protection of its facility.
Asked about the progress of the new compound, she said the projected completion date is mid-2017. "We will begin the process of moving locations after the project has been completed," she added.
Urbom's remarks came after former AIT Director Stephen Young said in Washington that the United States will post marines at the new AIT compound to protect the mission.
Young, who served as AIT director 2006-2009, said he had pushed strongly for the U.S. to "have a marine security detachment protecting the mission in Taipei" and that he is "proud to say that it is the case today."
During a speech at a Wednesday conference held by the Global Taiwan Institute, a Washington think tank, to discuss the U.S.'s Taiwan policy, he said that "we made sure when we were designing our new office building that we were going to build a very nice marine house for our guys there."
U.S. marines are posted currently at 148 U.S. overseas missions around the world to protect the diplomatic facilities and the personnel stationed there, according to information on its official website. A marine house is built to accommodate marine guards posted at U.S. overseas missions.
Since Taipei and Washington severed diplomatic ties in 1979, there have been no U.S. marines stationed at the AIT office, as the U.S. maintains only unofficial ties with Taiwan.
A de facto embassy in nature, the AIT is a private entity established in 1979 to manage U.S. relations with Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.
The headquarters of the AIT's Taipei Office is currently located in the city's Daan District.
(By Elaine Hou)