Taiwan admits paying American lobbyists to help build solid US ties

Island’s foreign ministry says it hired PR firms to help US government and others ‘have a better understanding of Taiwan’, saying lobbying transparency is key.

Taiwan hired American influencers to pull strings at the US government and Congress as part of its efforts to establish solid bilateral ties in the face of growing military threats from Beijing, which claims sovereignty over the self-ruled island.

In a rare statement, the island’s foreign ministry admitted it had long been the island’s practice to employ public relations companies in the US to help consolidate Taiwan-US ties – a relationship billed by both Taipei and Washington as rock solid in recent years.

“Regardless of which political party is the government, this is a long-time practice for our representative office in the US to hire public relations firms to assist us in strengthening ties with the United States,” Taiwan’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said in a news conference on Thursday.