Newspaper article China Post

Owens' Taiwan Trip in Accordance with Regulations: Foreign Minister

Newspaper article China Post

Owens' Taiwan Trip in Accordance with Regulations: Foreign Minister

Article excerpt

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The foreign minister yesterday denied claims of irregularities surrounding the invitation of a United States congressman to Taiwan last December, amid accusations that the trip broke U.S. House of Representatives' ethics rules.

"Our invitation to all visiting foreign guests are all conducted in accordance with related regulations," Timothy Yang said yesterday during a legislative session.

The U.S. Congressman Bill Owens' Taiwan trip last year was organized by a private party to enhance bilateral understanding, Yang said.

Such invitation to a foreign lawmaker was a must to boost closer ties amid a "difficult diplomatic situation" for Taiwan in global stage, the minister added.

Yang's comments came amid media speculation that the four-day trip Owens and his wife took last December violated a U.S. ethics rule forbidding members of Congress from taking any trips planned, requested or arranged by lobbyists.

The trip, which cost a total of US$22,132, was ostensibly paid by Taiwan's Chinese Culture University ([...]) on the grounds of "cultural exchanges."

But documents showed that a New York-based lobbying firm Park Strategies hired by the Taiwanese government was deeply involved in the trip, according to two U.S. watchdog journalistic organizations - ProPublica and POLITOCO - that first revealed the scandal.

Park Strategies is reportedly a registered foreign agent for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), Taiwan's de facto embassy in Washington. …

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