WASHINGTON ― President-elect Donald Trump on Friday broke with decades of U.S. foreign policy by speaking with the leader of Taiwan, a move that angered China, which claims sovereignty over the island. But the phone call has also raised additional questions about Trump’s potential business interests in Taiwan.
In November, the mayor of Taoyuan, a municipality that holds Taiwan’s main airport, told Taiwanese media that a representative of the Trump Organization had traveled to the island and expressed interest in building a hotel there. The Guardian reported that the representative, only known as Ms. Chen, expressed interest in a new development near Taiwan’s airport. The Guardian did not confirm Chen’s association with the Trump organization.
The New York Times also found Facebook posts from Anne-Marie Donoghue, global director of transient sales & Asia for Trump hotels, in which she posted about being in Taipei for a work trip.
In a statement, the Trump Organization said it had no plans to expand into Taiwan.
“There are no plans for expansion into Taiwan nor are any of our executives planning a visit. The rumors of a planned development in Taiwan are simply false,” Jennifer Rodstrom, a Trump Organization spokeswoman, wrote in an email. “There have been no authorized visits to Taiwan on behalf of our brand for the purposes of development nor are there any active conversations.”
Donoghue did not respond to a request for comment on the nature of her trip.
Trump has said that he will separate himself from his business interests before he is sworn in, but has not said how exactly he plans to do that. He faces numerous potential conflicts of interest around the world.