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Home / World / Trump's foreign luxury resorts collide with its South Korean diplomacy

Trump's foreign luxury resorts collide with its South Korean diplomacy







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                  President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a joint press conference Conference in the President's Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, on Sunday. | Chung Sung-Jun / Pool Photo on AP </p>
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White House

When Trump traveled to South Korea, a business deal between family business Trump and a business expanded Partially owned by the Korean government.

SEOUL, South Korea – President Donald Trump Trying to Visit South Korea this Weekend Go with him President Moon Jae-in entered into an agreement to encourage more companies to invest in the US

Yet, despite having asserted American interests, it is wide A partner of Trump's namesake company aggressively plans to build Trump luxury resorts in Indonesia – and the project involves construction It's not clear if Trump raised the Indonesian projects during his talks with Moon. The meeting, however, was the latest example of the blurred boundaries between Trump's official diplomatic work and his business interests.

The expansion of the project, to which the South Korean government is now attached, seems – at least in spirit – to run counter to Trump's commitment that the Trump organization will not conclude any new foreign business during its term of office.

The project in question became more complicated from an ethical point of view, when the developer of a Trump luxury resort last September signed a $ 120 million contract with a construction company – partly owned by the South Korean government – to build a six-star hotel signed. An 18-hole golf course and a theme park compared to Disney World. A corporate statement announcing the agreement with Posco said the financing would come from KEB Bank and IBK Securities, a state-owned bank of Korea.

Developer MNC Land has signed an agreement with Posco E & C Indonesia for the construction of the so-called "Trump Community" in Lido City, Indonesia. Posco also expects to build a second Trump resort in Bali, Indonesia.

"In addition to the new urban development project in Lido, we are expecting orders for the Bali Trump Resort project," said a Posco E & C employee in the statement.

In a little-noticed company update from February, MNC wrote that "Trump's ongoing dealings have raised the question of whether his actions as President are based on what is happening," says Trump's "aggressive global expansion" of Trump's international portfolio of "numerous projects in the pipeline." Document contains no details on the projects.

best for the country, or what's best for the bottom line.

In a break from his predecessors, Trump refused to completely disengage from his company despite repeated calls, instead investing his shares in a trust – although he can receive money at any time and revoke the trust at any time.

"It is impossible to say where d The Trump organization ends and the Trump administration begins, "said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), member of the House Oversight Committee. "For this reason, the founders have included the compensation clause in the constitution, which expressly prohibits a president from taking office."

The recent agreement with Posco could violate the Constitution. Lawmakers and ethics experts have banned officials from accepting money or gifts from foreign governments. Trump is already facing several lawsuits, including one filed by Connolly and other Democratic congressional members that he violates the compensation clause.

"The president and his family monetize the presidency in every possible way," said Connolly. "Conflicts of interest abound and yet the president refuses to sell."

The Trump Organization, MNC and Posco did not answer any questions. But officials from the Trump organization, now led by the president's adult sons, said earlier that their partners – not them – sign contracts with other companies. The Trump organization often just licenses their name and manages the resort, they say.

Before Trump took office, he swore that his company would not engage in new foreign business or engage in new transactions with a foreign country or official. The Trump organization withdrew from some foreign projects, but not others. Company officials consider projects like Lido City unfinished, but not new, while ethics experts claim they are new because they're signing new contracts.

Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, Washington, a monitoring group that monitors Trump's "demonstrated no interest in limiting his business interests or preventing foreign governments and companies from doing business with him during his presidency." close".

Now there were interests that at least make you wonder if your decision-making was influenced, "said Bookbinder. I think he does not have the benefit of the doubt at this point. "

Trump spent the weekend in South Korea with a meeting with Moon on various topics, including North Korea's nuclear threat and a newly implemented trade agreement between the two countries. Before arriving in South Korea on Saturday, Trump spent two days in Japan gathering the world's 20 largest economies and meeting leading figures in the world, including Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Both Korea and Saudi Arabia are affiliated with Posco. The public investment fund in Saudi Arabia acquired a 38 percent stake in Posco E & C, a subsidiary of steel producer Posco. According to a report from the auditor in March, the state pension fund of South Korea owns 10.72 percent of Posco.

Several prominent government officials from both countries attended an event in Jakarta in 2017 to celebrate the partnership between the MNC and Posco subsidiaries. This is evident from reports in foreign media. The previously unreported contract was completed at the end of last year.

Trump has repeatedly minimized potential problems with his business. "It's no big deal – you make a big deal on the business," he told reporters on one of his regular visits to his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago. "When I won, everyone knew I had big business."

Several other state-owned companies, including Korea Land and Housing, the China Metallurgical Corporation Group and Chinese, joined the Lido City project before Trump was elected became export and credit insurance.

When Trump was elected in 2016, construction has just begun. MNC expects to sell homes and golf membership for both developments in Indonesia starting this year.

The Trump International Hotel and Tower Lido project in the tropical forests will feature a theme park, a hotel, a country club and an 18-hole golf course designed by renowned South African golfer Ernie Els according to promotional material. Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and receive the latest news every morning – in your inbox.


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