Uludong denies claims on Palau media deal

Aerial view of Palau (Photo: Supplied)

The publisher of Palau’s Tia Belau newspaper has vehemently denied that a deal with Chinese investors was an “espionage plan… to take over Palau and the rest of the Pacific.”

Responding to an article by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), Moses Uludong said that the media deal was his plan and he involved Tian Hang, an expatriate Chinese hotelier on the island, and “other media friends in China involved who are interested in Palau and its development.”

The OCCRP article reported that the Tia Belau publisher entered into a media deal with a company with ties to Chinese Security Services.

The OCCRP article outlined people, events, and activities that it says were aimed at influencing key people in the Pacific, and Palau in particular, to turn in favor of China instead of the Republic of China – Taiwan. Palau is one of the only 13 remaining countries officially recognising Taiwan as an independent country.

“The story [by OCCRP] makes good reading. It is propaganda to satisfy those in the US government advocating war with China to prove who controls the world.  Chinese and its military and police apparatus have nothing to do with the idea and starting the company in Hong Kong,” asserted Uludong.

Uludong claimed he is not a “lone voice in Palau supporting closer economic and trade ties with China but keeping the diplomatic relationship with Taiwan.

“There are many of us, and we have visited Hong Kong, Macau, and China and met its private sector and government officials to promote economic ties and business, especially tourism,” he said.

He added that the media deal did not fail, saying its license expired due to its inactive status during the COVID.  He said it had been registered under a different name and was alive and active.

In his responses to Island Times, Uludong insisted that the five people involved in the Palau Media Group business in Hong Kong are not involved with “agents or representatives of the Chinese police, security and military organs.” 

“The individuals in the company…they don’t trust the government,” he added.

“The story is only a flavor or a smell but not an espionage plan concocted by the Chinese,” said Uludong.