Taiwan buys Washington lobbyist for ally — Analysis

Guatemala paid the United States for its lobbying effort. The Island agreed to pay the bill.

Taiwan spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a lobbying campaign to strengthen its relations with Guatemala. This was weeks after another Central American country cut ties with Taipei.

Officials from Guatemala announced Monday that the Taiwanese government had recently paid $900,000. They expressed gratitude to the island. “support that will allow us to enhance the country’s position in the United States.”

American PR company, Ballard Partners, was involved in the deal. It also includes lobbying “related to the United States government, including interactions with United States government officials,”According to public filings cited in Reuters.

Although Taipei is yet to publicly comment on the agreement, it comes less than a month since Nicaragua cut relations with Taiwan. The move also marks the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and Nicaragua. This triggered a harsh condemnation by officials from the island. As Beijing considered Taiwan part of its territory for many years, Nicaragua was one of a few states to recognize Taiwan.

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In Honduras, Guatemala’s next-door neighbor, incoming President Xiomara Castro previously voiced plans to step up the country’s relationship with China, though she has since backed away from that idea, instead saying she would like to improve ties with the US.

Washington for its part has recognized Taiwan over three decades but officially sides with the mainland from 1979. The Trump administration has made billions of dollars in weapons sales and provided assistance in the form of weapons transfers. That trend has been continued by President Joe Biden, who oversees a permanent military presence at the Taiwan Strait and vows to protect the island against a Chinese invasion. He also approves at least one weapon deal.

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