Taiwan Civil Government spending in Washington to influence Trump Administration decision-makers was augmented by a January 2018 junket to Zurich, Switzerland. Julian Lin led a TCG delegation that included lobbyists Neil Hare and Shelley Hymes. TCG was a sponsor of the World Web Forum. The trip to attend the event, a Swiss internet business convention, included a visit to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce office in Zurich. Hare, a former Chamber executive, arranged the meeting.
Lin will not be making any more trips to Zurich in the near future as she presently is imprisoned in a solitary confinement cell in a Taiwan jail. Held incommunicado and without bail, Lin's harsh pre-trial detention follows an arrest in May for alleged political fraud. Lin was arrested with her husband Roger Lin and five other TCG leaders following a midnight raid. Roger Lin is the head of Taiwan Civil Government.
The reason for the junket is not clear as the World Web Forum is not a likely venue to influence the White House. Neil Hare, a registered Foreign Agent, has not yet filed a financial disclosure statement about the junket with the Justice Department which tracks foreign political spending in the United States. Hare is only required to report the money which passes through his hands so much of the Zurich expenses may not be reported.
Often at TCG sponsored events Julian Lin takes to the podium and welcomes attendees. In Zurich the routine was different with Hare stepping on stage and speaking about Taiwan. Hare's topic was about the spread of the internet making national boundaries obsolete. Hare concluded that boundaries were still controlling and cited the difficulties that Taiwan experiences without national sovereignty.
Taiwan is caught in a seven-decade ambiguity with an unresolved international status since the end of World War II. President Harry Truman decided during San Francisco Peace Treaty negotiations between the United States and Japan that the sovereignty of Taiwan, then called Formosa, would be determined later. At the time the Korean War was raging and Truman wanted peace in the region before taking up the issue of Formosa. Truman directed Republic of China troops to be landed on the island in October 1945 to process surrendering Japanese soldiers. Under the laws of war the United States was the principal occupying power because of American bombing missions against the Japanese. The ROC was to be a caretaker government until a peace treaty could be negotiated.
The Cold War, which began as soon as World War II ended, resulted in the ROC never leaving Formosa. The ROC ruled by force and imposed four decades of harsh martial law on the island. The United States does not recognize the exiled Republic of China as having sovereignty over Taiwan yet opposes an independent Republic of Taiwan. American ambiguity has created a claim over the island by the People's Republic of China which has threatened to invade. The civil war, which drove the ROC from China in 1949, is at the heart of the PRC claim for the so-called province they never controlled.
The goal of TCG is to replace the ROC with American assistance. While that seems unlikely, the possibility of resolving Taiwan's sovereignty under Donald Trump is not. Now that Trump has quieted the North Korean nuclear threat, the instability of relations with Red China could be reduced by resolution of Taiwan's status. President Trump may be the one to take care of President Truman's unfinished business.