Donald Trump may have ulterior motives for his jaw-dropping call to Taiwan Friday, considering his company is looking to build luxury hotels and resorts on the rogue Chinese providence, Shanghaiist reports.
Trump shocked political observers Friday, initiating the first US-Taiwanese presidential contact in over three decades. The move risked a major dispute with China, which considers Taiwan to be one of its providences. In 1979, the U.S. adopted a One China position, freezing diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Despite the historically frosty relations between the United States and Taiwan, Trump picked up the phone to speak with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, incensing Beijing according to geopolitical experts.
As it turns out, the head-scratching move by Trump may not be so surprising afterall. The Gothamist LLC publication Shanghaiist—which covers news and events in China—Trump is eyeing Taiwan as his next location for a series of luxury hotels and resorts.
In November, the mayor of Taoyuan, Taiwan confirmed to China Times that a representative from the Trump Organization visited the municipality in September. Reports indicate Trump’s son Eric Trump will visit Taiwan later this year to discuss “a large-scale urban development project aimed at capitalizing on Taoyuan's status as a transport hub for East Asia.”
Questions about potential conflicts-of-interest have plagued Trump since the beginning of his transition in November. After an onslaught of criticism, the president-elect vowed to leave his “great business in order to fully focus on running the country.”
During his call with Ing-wen, Trump congratulated her on her recent election and “noted the close economic, political, and security ties” that exist between Taiwan and the United States.