Ms. Tsai, Taiwan’s president, will attend, as will Taipei’s mayor, Ko Wen-je. The main focus of attention, however, has been on who will represent the United States, and how high-ranking that visitor will be.
During a May 21 news conference to announce the ceremony, the first question from the Taiwanese journalists who filled the room was whom Washington will send. The answer by the institute’s director, Kin Moy, an American diplomat who effectively serves as the United States’ ambassador to Taiwan, only added to the anticipation.
“There will certainly be good friends of Taiwan coming from Washington,” Mr. Moy said. “You will recognize a number of these good friends.”
A high-level visitor will a symbolic boost for Taiwan, which has taken its diplomatic lumps recently. In the last month, Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic both broke off relations, lured away by China.
The last high-profile American official to visit Taiwan was Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher, who came in 1978 to announce the end of official diplomatic ties. An outraged mob attacked Mr. Christopher’s limousine, pelting it with eggs, mud and rocks. He escaped with minor cuts.
Regardless of who shows up, Taiwan will seek to present itself as a reliable, democratic ally and indispensable regional partner to the United States.
“The new compound reinforces the U.S.-Taiwan relationship at an important time,” said Tiffany Ma, senior director at BowerGroupAsia, a Washington-based government affairs consultancy that has extensive dealings with Taiwan.