Bob Dole, a former US senator from Kansas and 1996 Republican presidential nominee, has apparently been working hard to get Taiwanese leaders and the Trump transition team together.
In addition to an unprecedented phone call with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen last week, Dole has been working on behalf of Taiwan to establish ties with the incoming Trump administration, according to a New York Times report published Tuesday.
Dole’s Washington law firm, Alston & Bird, was paid $140,000 between May and October this year for his efforts, The Times said.
That phone call was widely criticised last week for breaking a nearly four-decade practice by the US of avoiding diplomatic acknowledgement of Taiwan. The US suspended formal relations with the country in 1979 after establishing a One China position — which states that “there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.”
As the fallout from Trump’s conversation with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan rippled through Washington and China, Trump shot back succinctly, saying the Taiwanese leader wanted to wish him “congratulations on winning the Presidency.”
However, according to The Times, Taiwan has been seeking deeper connections with Trump and his advisers. “They see a new president, a Republican, and they’d like to develop a closer relationship,” Dole told the newspaper.
The Times points to a January letter that outlined terms of Dole’s partnership with Taiwan’s unofficial embassy in the US — the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office — which also stipulated a $25,000-a-month retainer for Dole.
Here are some terms of the agreement:
- Help Taiwan enter into the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (Trump has vowed to remove the US from this).
- Orchestrate access to congressional leaders from both the Democratic and Republican parties.
- Obtain access to Republican presidential candidates and the party’s national convention
Though it is unclear what other conversations are happening between Trump’s transition team and foreign governments, Dole’s lobbying appears to counter the president-elect’s campaign and post-election rhetoric that railed against the influence of Washington insiders.
Dole, a long-established lobbyist, said of his work between Taiwan and the Trump’s inner circle: “When you represent a client and they make requests, you’re supposed to respond.”
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