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American Institute in Taiwan

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) serves as the de-facto[?] embassy of the United States in the Republic of China on Taiwan. It was created by the Taiwan Relations Act after severing ties with the ROC in 1979. Although it is a nominally private organization, it is authorized to perform functions normally carried on by an embassy, including issuing visas. The staff consists nominally of private citizens, but these are officials of the United States Department of State who are technically on leave, although they continue to collect seniority. The funding for the AIT comes exclusively from the United States government.

The Director of the American Institute on Taiwan serves the functions normally associated with an ambassador. The current Director is Douglas H. Paal.

The AIT exists because the United States does not formally recognize the authority of the Republic of China over Taiwan and hence cannot open an actual embassy there.

The main office is in Taipei, with a branch in Kaohsiung.

See also: Foreign relations of Taiwan, Political status of Taiwan

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